As I sit here in a Toronto hotel room, with a wafer-thin layer of snow on the ground, I am praying to be able to adequately describe the warm love of the Father for us.
God, the creator of love, did so because He wants to enter into an agape love (the highest express of love—pure, selfless and unconditional) relationship with all of us. Out of love, he formed our bodies. Because of His love, we have a mind and free will to choose Him as Father, and thanks to His love we are given an opportunity to spend eternity in His presence. Today, in the final part of our six-part series on “Knowing the Father,” we dive head first into the endless sea of God’s love and learn about some of the attributes of the love He has for us.
Our Father’s love is eternal. If you didn’t marry your high school or college sweetheart and dated for a while, you’ve probably discovered that love doesn’t always last or is erratic at times. Perhaps you had a parent that fell short in the love category. The good news is that there is a love that never fails us and never fades, God’s love. 1 Chronicles 16:34 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever.” Sometimes the enemy of your soul will attempt to make you believe that you are not loved, but rebuke that thought and trust what God says about His love. Claim the promise of Psalm 89:2 that says, “I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.”
Our Father’s love is overflowing. This year, God gave me new insight into Ephesians 3:17–19 that says, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” I realized that we humans simply don’t have the mental capacity to understand how much God loves us. That’s why we occasionally struggle with feeling loved by our heavenly Father. We base the love of God on circumstances and on how humans react to us. The answer is we need to pray to understand, and we must tap into God’s power to grasp the dimensions of His love for us, a love that, according to Psalm 119, fills the earth and, according to Psalm 36, “reaches to the heavens.”
Our Father wants us to be vessels of His love. We are God’s ambassadors on this earth and if we are to represent Him well, we need to be filled to the brim with His love. 1 John 4:7–8 says,
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love, does not know God because God is love.”
God wants us to love our enemies and love those who need a little extra patience. He calls us to love our spouse and to love the Christian brothers and sisters He places in our lives. I used to be bothered by the passages in the Gospel of John where the disciple, John, is referred to as the disciple whom Jesus loved. I thought Jesus didn’t have favorites? Then I realized the word for love in these passages is “agape.” Now it made more sense. John was not a favorite. It took drawing from God’s pure, selfless and unconditional love to love John, just like it takes God’s Agape love for many of those in our lives as well.
Our Father desires our love in return. God created love so we’d choose to love Him back. I know I don’t love God the way He’d like for me to love Him. I often pray, Help me to love you more, Lord. The greatest commandment in the Bible in both the black and red letters is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5). This passage goes on to challenge us to tell our children about how important it is to love God, wear jewelry reminders, and also asks us to post it on our doorframes so we never forget it.
My “fisher of men” bracelet is a permanent fixture on my wrist because it’s a reminder of what I’m on this earth to accomplish,
and I have the words of Deuteronomy 6:5 posted over the door to the garage, so every time I leave I’m reminded that loving God and His children is the most important thing I could possible do that day.
Our Father’s love is sacrificial. I may never be able to fully comprehend what God did for us when he sacrificed His own Son, Jesus, so that we might live with Him forever. It is the greatest act of love ever recorded. We see this verse all the time at sporting events but just meditate on it for a minute: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” Could you imagine sacrificing your own child so that another might live? It is a love beyond comprehension. And because of this love, we can call God, Father. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).
For a fatherless girl like me, there is no greater gift than the sacrificial love of my Abba Daddy. I am not sure where I’d be without it. Won’t you pray today for your heavenly Dad to increase your understanding of His love for you, and for His people? Spend some time in His presence, and tell Him how much you love Him in return. God, in His abundant love, is waiting for you to respond.