That Kind of Love
Maybe you need this prayer today. This reminder.
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should,
and how deep
his love is.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT
God’s love. It is hard to measure in human terms. As scripture says, it’s “too great to understand fully.”
How wide is it?
The breadth of God’s love suggests great extent…to the ends of the corners of the earth.
How long is it?
The length used in showing forth the greatness and extent of Christ’s love.
How high is it?
The height…as high as the sky.
How deep is it?
The depth….as deep as the sea.
“God so loved the world”. So – as in degree of intensity. He SO greatly loved the world…
“that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 ESV
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10 NLT
God gave His only son out of great love for us.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 ESV
Greater as in the large, great, widest sense of love.
Jesus gave his life out of great love for us.
Romans 5:8 (NLT) But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Galatians 2:20 (NLT) My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
“For God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5 AMPC
Poured out means to pour forth; to bestow; to gush; to shed; to spill. His love was poured out, shed, spilled on the cross for us and right into our hearts.
So that we may live eternally.
That kind of love.
Why is this so hard to believe? That God would love us with that kind of love? With that great love? Let’s face it. We have a hard time believing God has such unconditional love for us because we have experienced conditional love throughout our lives. Love that may have hurt or ended. Love where we needed to perform. To be perfect. To measure up. To jump through hoops.
As my women’s group met for coffee this morning, we all agreed that the love of a grandparent is one of the closest things to unconditional love in this world. Grandparents lavish love. They forgive our sins easily (and sometimes overlook them altogether). They shower us with undeserved mercy and blessings. In fact, my granny even said to me “You could spit in my face and I would still love you.” Yes, that kind of love.
How do we begin to grow down deep into God’s love? How do we experience the great love of Christ? I have talked a lot about believing the promises of God and trusting in Him. Foundationaly, we must first believe that God truly loves us. We must let that reality sink down into the deepest parts of our soul and we must saturate our minds with that truth. The best way to do that is by meditating on His word. Digging Deeper.
The width, length, height and depth of God’s love is evident throughout scripture.
Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Unfailing. A Steadfast, Unshakable, Faithful kind of love.
God’s love is also….Everlasting. Abounding. Enduring forever.
Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV) The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Psalm 86:15 (NIV) But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Psalm 136:26 (NIV) Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.
The earth is filled with his love (Psalm 119:64). It stands firm forever (Psalm 89:2). In fact, he keeps his covenant of love for a thousand generations (Deuteronomy 7:9). He lavishes his love on us (1 John 3:1) and he quiets us…calms all our fears..with his perfect love, too. (Zephaniah 3:17 and 1 John 4:18)
Because of his love we are more than conquerors; we have the victory (Romans 8:37).
“Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NLT
Nothing, not one thing, can separate us from God’s love. It is that kind of love.
Beth Moore said “You can not be free to return the love of God unless you first accept it. You can love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength unless you believe God loves you.” (bpnews.net)
“We have come to know and have believed (to have faith in, to entrust) the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides (of him who cleaves, or holds fast to a thing; to stay, continue, dwell; an expectancy) in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16 NASB
Believe it, my friends. Believe and cleave! God has that kind of extravagant love for you. The wide, long, high and deep kind of love. Right now. Right where you are. Regardless of where you have been or what you have done. He loves YOU with that kind of love!
“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you!” Psalm 63:3 NIV
Putting It Into Practice
Take some time this week to answer the following questions:
When you think of God, do you think of him as loving? Why or why not?
According to John 3:16, what was God’s motivation?
How does God’s love contrast to the world’s love?
Do you believe that your performance makes God love you more?
Do you believe your sin makes God love you less?
As a former pastor always told us “There is nothing you can do to make God love you less and there is nothing you can do to make God love you more.” His love is constant, unchanging. He embodies unconditional love. Do you find that hard to believe? Explain.
Romans 5:8 says “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” How does that encourage you knowing you have failed in the past or even when you fail now?
Have you truly accepted God’s love? Do you believe that Jesus poured out his love on the cross for you? Have you asked him to forgive you of your sins and to be the Lord of your life? If you haven’t, I encourage you today to give your life to Jesus and let his love and forgiveness wash over you and flood your soul. I would love to talk to you about it…please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This devotional contains a ton of scriptures. I encourage you to choose one or two scriptures each week and truly meditate on them.
Read them in several versions and read them over and over again.
Write them in your journal and/or on a sticky note so that it reminds you daily of God’s love.
Look them up on Bible Gateway or Bible Study Tools.
Learn what the words mean. If you type in your browser the scripture reference and then the word lexicon, you can find the original meanings of words. For example, John 3:16 Lexicon. Try it. (Thanks Pastor E for this tip!)
**several questions above taken from Charles F. Stanley’s God’s Unconditional Love at intouch.org.