My wife and I are quite different kind of people. Opposites do attract. I love being outdoors. Liz prefers the indoors. But we have learnt to appreciate those things which the other person loves. Liz has joined me for many walks in the great outdoors. With Liz being a sports fan, I have learnt to appreciate relaxing in front of the TV and watching sports. The key is that, because we love each other, we have shown an interest in each other’s activities. It has been very enriching.
The greatest commandment to mankind is to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul and mind. I think it then follows that we also have to learn to love what He loves, (and to hate what He hates!). Some of the focal points for God’s love may seem foreign to us. But if we love Him, we should learn to love that which He loves. So, what are some of the key things God loves? Here are a few.
God loves Jesus. Words came from heaven that said, “This is my beloved Son … listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5). Moses prophesied that, when Jesus would come, we would not be able to afford ignoring Hi. That this would be an offence to God (Deuteronomy 18:18-19). If we want to show love to God, the primary way is to love, accept and submit to Jesus. There is no other way.
God loves the world. Most Christians know John 3:16. It starts with the words, ‘For God so loved the world’. As Christians, we are not of this world. We are called to be radically different. The world may even persecute us. But as Christians we cannot afford to hate the people in it. If God loves the unconverted, then we should too.
God loves His Church. The Church, that worldwide body made up of believers of all stripes, is the Bride of Christ. We know that the Church is not perfect. Perhaps we carry our own wounds, disappointments and frustrations with church. The pain may be real, but we must be careful to guard our heart against wrong attitudes. If Jesus loves the Church, then so should we.
God loves Israel. God chose this nation to be His first-born, to be in everlasting Covenant with Him. He said to Abraham’s descendants, ‘For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth’ (Deuteronomy 7:6). I love the verses that follow where God says to Israel, I love you, because I love you. We may not fully understand this. We may feel Israel does not deserve it. It does not matter. If God loves Israel, and we love Him, then we must learn to love Israel too.
We could go on of course, about loving our neighbours, and loving ourselves. All valid points! You might feel you are lacking in love. In fact, I’m sure we all are. The Bible talks about God pouring His love into our hearts. Isn’t it amazing that He Himself provides the love that He is looking for? So, let’s pray for that divine love, and in faith receive from Him.
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