Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. –1 John 4:7-8
We started the Love series a few weeks ago. Our aim is to learn the following three truths about love:-
- What is God’s love
- How to love God with all our heart and soul
- How to love one another
Let’s explore the first truth today.
WHAT IS GOD’S LOVE?
The Bible says that God is love. So when God made man in His own image and likeness, the loving character of God was reflected in man too. Man was made to be and to live as a creature of love.
Sadly, man’s fall changed everything.
The devil enticed Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. God had forbidden them from eating that fruit and warned that they would die if they disobeyed Him. Surely, on eating the fruit, Eve would have begun to see the consequences. Guilt, shame and nakedness which were hitherto unknown must have begun setting in. Despite all those warring and strange feelings, she shared the fruit with Adam. Instead of setting things right, Adam followed Eve and walked right into the devil’s trap.
Man’s love constituency changed. God’s love in man was replaced with a foreign love. Human love took on a totally different form. Here are a few characteristics of the human love.
a) SELFISH LOVE
I misplaced my phone when I was in New York. Somehow, I managed to contact my friends in India. Through the internet they were able to track my phone in New York! Impressive, isn’t it? If man can do such neat stuff with limited technology, then the Sovereign God can tell exactly where man is. So when God called out to Adam and Eve after their disobedience, He knew exactly where they were hiding. But He wanted Adam to identify and explain himself. Sure enough, Adam was quick to explain! He placed the blame neatly at his wife’s feet.
Selfishness had replaced all semblances of God’s love in man!
Today, the world is full of people who say ‘me first’. There’s a joke about identifying true love in a family by taking the family into the deep sea and saying that only a few can make it back while the rest have to be thrown overboard. True love will show up indeed! Countries, families and people groups are all divided by caste, religion, language and various other self-loving parameters.
b) CONDITIONAL LOVE
Many years ago, a young nine year old girl was flown to the USA for a kidney transplant. The treatment was to cost about USD 30,000 and her family had only managed to arrange for about USD 7,000. While onboard the aircraft, they got talking with their fellow passengers and happened to mention the purpose of their visit. Their audience was so moved by this young girl’s condition that one by one they wrote out cheques towards her treatment costs. By the time the flight landed in USA they had received the full amount for the girl’s treatment!
That was a beautiful testimony of love without any strings attached.
These random strangers didn’t donate the money for a publicity stunt. Nor did they expect any accounting for their money! In fact when they wrote out the cheques, they probably didn’t even check the veracity of the story. But something deep in their hearts prompted them to pour out unconditional love.
…to be continued…