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-What Does God’s Love Mean To Us?

What Does God’s Love Mean To Us?


Picture FrameOur love for God depends on how much we appreciate the depth His love for us. This is illustrated by Jesus’ encounter with the prostitute who anointed Him with perfume, and His relationship with Mary and Martha (Lk. 7:36-50; Jn. 11:1-44). A sinner comes to Jesus Simon, a Pharisee and Jewish religious leader, arranged a feast to make a fool of Jesus by testing His ability to know the future and read people’s minds (Lk. 7:39). He was rich and respected, so those invited were upper-class, while Jesus was a carpenter. Jesus was probably given the lowest place at the table without the usual courtesies: His feet were not washed, His head not anointed with oil, and He was not given an introductory kiss.

Those at the feast were disturbed when a woman entered the room – a prostitute “who had lived a sinful life in that town” (Lk. 7:37 NIV). The men would have been speechless; she was the last person they would have socialized with. The people would have encouraged their children to grow up to be like Simon, not this sinner.

The woman approached Jesus and did something strange. She didn’t speak. She just cried, her tears wetting Jesus’ feet. She then knelt and used her hair to wipe His feet. She also poured perfume on them. Simon would have wondered, “What is this sinner doing in my house?” He thought, “If this man were a prophet, He would know … she is … a sinner.”

Jesus knew what Simon was thinking and said, “Simon, I have something to tell you … Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him 500 denarii, and the other 50. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more.” Common sense tells us who would be more grateful for the forgiveness. Simon knew, as he had studied the Law.

God’s love awakens our love
Then Jesus did something that shocked Simon. He told him, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give Me any water for My feet, but she wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give Me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing My feet. You did not put oil on My head, but she has poured perfume on My feet” (Lk. 7:44-46).

Simon failed to recognize that although she was the worst of sinners, she knew that her condition separated her from God. She knew she could do nothing to improve her situation. But she also knew that Jesus offered grace, healed the lame, raised the dead and comforted the wounded. She knew that His grace would be sufficient. She recognized her condition, went to Jesus and wept. Her tears expressed that she could do nothing for herself – but “she loved much.” And Jesus forgave her (Lk. 7:47-50).

Becoming aware of our condition and the fact that we can’t help ourselves, causes our love for Christ to be awakened. Only through His death on Calvary’s cross can we have eternal life. Acknowledging the extent of our sin is the first step.

Anytime I doubt God’s love, I go to the cross. Satan always brings questions like these to mind: “How could God allow me to go through this? Why does God take away someone I love? Why doesn’t God help me in this situation? Does God really love me?” When he does this, I say, “Satan, come with me to Calvary.” There I see the extent of God’s love. There I see where I was before Christ, and where I am since He dealt with my sin. The Bible says that all our sins – past, present and future – have already been forgiven. The Holy Spirit says, “I will remember them no more” (Heb. 10:17). It doesn’t matter how far we have strayed, He will forgive us.

Do we know anyone else who would do the same thing? There are a lot of good people who forgive us more than once. But what if we keep hurting them? Won’t their patience run out? Isn’t it great to know God’s patience never runs out? And isn’t it great to “taste and see the goodness of God” (Ps. 34:8). When we become His children, we are His for eternity, and nothing we’ve done can change that. That truth wakes up our love for Him. It removes our desire to sin. It leads us to commit our life to God.

God’s love maintains our love
When we first become Christians we want to go all out for God. But then our passion starts to fade. Why? How can we stop it? We can learn from the example of Mary and Martha, who were Jesus’ good friends (Lk. 10:38-42). Mary sat at Jesus’ feet “listening to what He said.” While the prostitute came to Jesus’ feet as a sinner aware of Christ’s love, Mary sat at His feet to learn more of His love. They were fellowshipping together. Martha was upset because Mary wasn’t helping in the kitchen. But Jesus said to her, “Only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better.”

Sometimes doing things for God becomes a burden. We go to church thinking, “God, I’m doing this because I’m supposed to.” We do things, but the passion is gone because we aren’t sitting at His feet.

It is as though Jesus tells Martha, “I enjoy your company. I want to get to know you. And I want you to get to know Me.” That was the difference between Mary and Martha: Mary fellowshipped with the Lord and learned more about His love. Mary’s love was being maintained. Jesus also wanted Martha to spend time with Him so her love could be maintained. That is what God is asking of us today. Did we spend time with the Lord this morning? Did we have a prayer conversation with Him? Are we allowing Him to be a part of our life? Or are we just busy doing things for Him?

We love spending time with family and friends. Shouldn’t we do the same with Jesus? Until we accept His invitation to friendship, we will not be able to maintain our love and it will fade. We’ll drift away from God if we don’t spend time with Him. Jesus helps us maintain our love by being our Savior and Friend. We can sit at His feet anytime (Jn. 15:15).

God’s love deepens our love
The Lord also does something else. Mary and Martha were devastated when Lazarus died (Jn. 11:1-44). They sent Jesus a message: “The one whom You love is sick.” When He reached Bethany, He saw Mary, Martha and the people weeping, and He wept too. They said, “See how He loved him.” But I don’t think that’s the only reason Jesus cried. He knew Lazarus was going to be raised to life. He also wept for Mary and Martha: “When Jesus saw her weeping … He was deeply moved and … wept” (Jn. 11:33-35).

When things are difficult and we feel we can’t make the right decisions, Jesus comes to us. Once there was a big race, with thousands of people watching. The athlete who was favored to win was leading until he tore a muscle in his leg and fell near the finish line. The crowd was stunned. He tried to get up, but fell again. Then his father left the grandstand and ran to the athlete. He was wearing a shirt that said, “Have you hugged your son today?” and a Nike cap that said, “Just do it!” He picked up his son and said, “You don’t have to do this, the race is over.” His son pleaded: “I have to finish the race!” The father said with compassion, “OK son, we’ll finish together.” He carried his son across the finish line as the crowd cheered.

What moved this father to help his son? Was it because he was winning? No. He was moved to help when he saw his son in need. It’s the same with God. When we are going great, He cheers, “Keep at it! Run well!” He’s on our side. But when we fall and are in trouble, He says, “I’m here! I’ll pick you up and carry you through.”

You have to be willing to finish the race with His help. Jesus came to Mary and Martha and talked, walked and wept with them. He knew what they were going through (Heb. 4:15). He knows our struggles too. He understands and will be with us. We just have to allow Him to put His arms around us. If we allow Jesus to help, He will turn our sorrow into joy. Why? Because we have experienced His goodness. Difficult times will come. Will we allow Him to turn them into joyful ones in His own time?

Falling in love
At Jesus’ feet we learn about His love, and there it is awakened and grows. At His feet He turns our sorrow into joy and deepens our love. If we practice this daily we’ll be able to say, “I am in love with Jesus.”

Are you in love with Him? Are you letting God awaken, maintain and deepen your love for Him? Does it show in your relationship with others?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Ishak is a young man who is involved in a mission team that uses sports to bring Jesus’ love to prisoners in Sydney and elsewhere in Australia

With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org

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