Love of the living God
washes the soul,
contents the mind,
casts out vices,
renders the earth hateful,
washes and binds the thoughts.
What does the love of God accomplish in a person?
It kills his desires,
it cleanses his heart,
it protects him,
it swallows up his vices,
it prolongs his life,
it washes his soul.
- Colmán mac Beógnai, Aipgitir Chrábaid, Irish, 7th century
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
- 1 John 4.10
It’s helpful to think of the love of God in two ways – objectively and subjectively.
First, objectively, God’s love flows from God to us. We begin to know His love as we come into a saving relationship with the Father through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. We grow in His love as we submit to the Spirit, Who teaches us through the Word to follow Jesus and obey the Father. We wonder at and rejoice in the love of God as we consider that every facet of our being, all our existence in all its parts, is only possible because of the steadfast love and faithfulness of God. By His Word, He upholds us and the universe solely because of His grace.
God’s love comes at us like neutrinos, in a constant, all-penetrating and all-pervading flow, that washes, wraps, renews, and rewards us in a myriad of ways, at all times.
Our response to God’s love is the subjective component in John’s teaching. The love of God flows from us to God the more we immerse in, are aware of, and are blessed by His love for us. Our love for God flows to Him in the form of gratitude, rejoicing, obedience, and witness.
Sadly, our love rises to God only intermittently, like some mountain stream that has to be first overabundantly replenished with rain before it will trickle for even the slightest season. We are not nearly as constant at loving God as God is at loving us.
By God’s love we are washed, made content, cleansed and purified, and transformed in soul and body. In love for God we seek Him and His Kingdom, hunger for His Word, and walk in the light as He is in the light. Loved by God, and loving Him, a power overtakes and fills our lives that, progressively, makes all things new and transforms us into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
Everything about the life of faith depends on this: knowing God’s love, and loving God in return. Nothing can substitute for a life of complete immersion in the love of God. We must be renewed in this love every day as we wait on the Lord in His Word and prayer, and as we walk in Him, the eyes of our heart fixed firmly on Jesus Christ, our exalted King.
Then we can live in love for God, expressing in joy and good works the reality of love that has gripped and graced us.
What a sweet privilege and immense blessing to bask in the ever-present, everywhereness of God’s love; and then love God with all your heart in return.
This is what we’re made for, what we’re called to, and what makes our lives fruitful and abundant in the Lord.
1. What can you do to spend more time meditating on God’s love for you?
2. How do you think doing so will affect your love for God?
Psalm 69.13-15, 34-36 (Greensleeves: What Child is This?)
O Lord, we make our prayer to You; receive our words, O Savior!
Let lovingkindness see us through, and answer us with favor!
Lord, lift us above the mire; deliv’rance is our one desire!
Let not the floods conspire to swallow us forever.
Let heav’n and earth now praise You, Lord, the seas and all their creatures,
for You will save us by Your Word and build Your City’s features.
There we will with Jesus dwell and know His blessings full and well.
His glorious Name we’ll tell to ev’ry man and creature!
I love You, Lord, I do, but I long to love You more! Help me love You more completely and consistently, so that I…
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T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Carey, p. 234.