21 Oct 2013
A few of days ago during a conversation with a new friend, this young father shared a picture from his phone of his two year old daughter looking up into his face with a gaze of absolute adoration. He explained that she has recently started to walk well enough that they could take short walks together. The day of the picture he noticed that as she was walking holding on to his hand, she looked only into his face. Without her being aware he was able using his phone to take a picture of her looking into his eyes. The picture was absolutely delightful. But even more striking was the life and love that shone on this father’s face as he displayed this picture and describe what it represented.
I was immediately reminded of our heavenly Father walking in the garden with our earthly father Adam so many years ago. Next came the thought …… this is exactly the relationship that our heavenly father covets with each of us, His children, every minute of every day. He desires to take a walk just with you. Not with a big crowd or with someone else more spiritual. He wants to simply get alone and walk and talk exclusively with you. He deeply desires to regain with you the intimate love relationship that He had with Adam and Eve in the garden before the fall.
David describes his sense, his personal experience, of the love of God ….
Psalms 63:3 (NLT)
3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!
The interesting and very attractive thing about young children is that they have the built in ability to soak up an amazing quantity of love, particularly from their parents. Though I only recently met this young father one thing I know about him with confidence; he is a lover of his daughter. Just seeing the look on his daughters face is adequate evidence even for the casual observer that this is a child readily responding to the deep and abiding love of her father.
Growing older we gradually become more cynical. We seem to somehow lose our ability to easily and effortlessly in a child-like way receive love from our heavenly Father, even though in truth His love is without requirement and does not depend on our loveliness. Our inhibition to appropriate and experience His love is not a required reality in our lives. God has provided a way for us to appropriate, accept and deeply appreciate His love.
Romans 5:5 (NASB95)
5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (emphasis added)
When we surrender our lives and our sins and place them under the blood of Jesus, God places inside our beings His Holy Spirit. It is through this same Spirit that He pours out His love into our hearts. Yet even regarding this transaction God continues to give us the gift of choice. Our choice allows us to believe and receive His love, or believe and receive the thoughts of this world and those of our flesh which shout that it is a ridiculous idea that the Creator of the Universe could actually personally love a defective human covered with carefully concealed warts. Of course the truth is that God has not eyes to see warts. He has chosen to only see the beauty of a blood cleansed perfected child looking into His eyes with a trusting adoring love.
Every human heart has been designed by God to hunger and hunt for love. We each have this big hole in our hearts that can only be filled by God’s authentic love. This is obvious in the heart of the previously mentioned little girl in the picture. While she is likely not aware of the extent of God’s love as of yet she is clearly having her heart filled with the Father’s love through the instrument of her earthly father who loves God and is able to communicate the love of God to his child.
You and I are not exempt. We also have this God’s-love shaped vacuum in our hearts. While the empty space in our hearts is not so apparent to some since we have determined to develop the sophisticated skill of seeming to be self sufficient. Many and even some “believers”, often communicate in various ways … “ Who needs the love of God?”, while at the same time owning a deeply hidden but desperate heart to be filled up with His love.
Paul prays for those he loves in the area of Ephesus concerning this heart vacuum:
Ephesians 3:14-19 (NASB95)
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
While Paul expressed various requests they each build on the previous to make a sort of a progressive growth process culminating in “being filled up to all the fullness of God.” First he prays that they might “be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” Then assuming by faith that God will answer this prayer he prays that the consequence of this answer will result in Christ dwelling in their hearts through faith and that they would be rooted and grounded in love.
Rooted is how plants are stuck immovable into the ground. Grounded is how boats become immovable, no longer able to float around here and there. Paul is praying and teaching us to pray that we would be planted and stuck, surrounded, in Love even as a boat is grounded in a sand bar and unable to free itself. Paul prays that this would result from the power of the Spirit working mightily in our inner humanness. This means that everything we think and say and do will be restrained and tightly tied to love, resulting in receiving from the Spirit indescribable spiritual life. Paul describes this as being filled up to all the fullness of God!
Our natural inescapable response when this prayer is fully answered in our lives is to love God and men with God’s unspeakable love.
1 John 4:19 (NASB95)
19 We love, because He first loved us.
Please permit one more visit to the young girl in the picture. In this picture we see an illustration of the truth of this scripture. She profoundly loves her father because of his love for her. God has graciously given us family relationships to help us to see and understand the personal relationship He desires with you and me. We are not God’s hired hands; we are His genuinely loved children. We do not have to perform in a certain way to earn God’s love; God’s love comes to us welded together as an inseparable part of our relationship as His dearly love and deeply prized child.
1 John 3:1 (NASB95)
1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. (emphasis added)
Do you long for a personal relationship that fills you up with God, a deep and abiding relationship that continuously fills your heart to overflowing with love for God and for men? This is exactly the personal relationship that God has designed and desires just for you! How can we each move with focused determination in this direction; how can wereach this goal?
1. Tell yourself the truth – meditate on scripture particularly those that speak of God’s love for you. Ask God to bury these truths deep within your heart.
2. Take walks with Jesus - spend time simply seeking His face and then listen carefully in His presence. Walk each day with your eyes constantly on His face.
3. Pray – pray Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19 for your own life, pray this prayer for three other believers, and ask at least three other believers to pray this prayer for you.
Each of these instructions directs us into the will of God. When we by faith act and pray in accordance with the will of God we can with absolute confidence expect to receive the spiritual blessing of God to fall from Heaven upon our lives. It is in this way that the people of God will be prepared by God for the revival He desires to bring as we become prepared.
16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (emphasis added)
May we each grow by faith to the point where we can authentically and emphatically say with the Apostle John: “We have come to know and believe the love that God has for us.”