In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
- 1 John 4.10
Love of the living God washes the soul, contents the mind, magnifies rewards, 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
The love of God flows two ways.
First, from God to us. We 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 the love of God when 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, Who, by His Word, upholds us and the universe solely because of His grace.
The love of God flows from us to God in response to this. By God’s love we are washed, made content, cleansed and purified, and transformed in our soul and body. In love for God we seek Him and His Kingdom, hunger for His Word, rest in His Spirit, and walk in the light as He is in the light.
Loved by God, and loving Him, a power overtakes our lives that, progressively, makes all things new, and transforms us into the image of Jesus Christ. Thus, the love of God governs self-love, and leads us to flow with love to our neighbors as ourselves.
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. So we wait on the Lord in His Word and prayer, meditate on His glory, listen for His Spirit, and walk in Him, the eyes of our heart fixed firmly on Jesus Christ, our exalted King.
Love for God increases by sheltering in His love and loving Him in return. Such love transforms us, so that, rather than live as sponges, draining every ounce of love from others that we can, we are as it were a bottomless well of God’s love, which oozes and flows from us, even in the hard places and tight squeezes of life (Jn. 7.37-39).
Friends, let us love drink deeply of the delights of God’s love, and love God with all our heart: this is the great commandment, and this is the greatest life any human being can know.
Psalm 116.1-3 (Mit Freuden Zart: “All Praise to God Who Reigns Above”)
I love the Lord because He hears my cries and please for mercy.
Because He bends to me His ears, my prayers shall ever thus be.
The snares of death encompassed me; hell’s grip could not unloosened be.
Distress and anguish pressed me.
I do love You, Lord; help me to love You more.