Truly, no greater love has a man than this--that he would lay his life down. Would YOU lay your life down for another? I bought a sandwich for a sad stranger today who was boldly begging for money in a restaurant. He neither seemed appreciative nor said thank you. He actually continued to beg from others as I bought him food.
But I kept thinking about the Word that says, "Give to all who ask..." So, I didn't hesitate. It was better than handing him money that could have gone to perpetuate a habit... And somehow, I feel like angels still rejoiced as a seed of love was planted in a heart that has seen more than its share of difficult times. And what was it to me anyway? It certainly wasn't my life being laid down like my precious Savior gave for me when I was so unworthy.
I've been meditating a great deal lately about the holiness and the love of God. We talk about Him being holy, and I don't know how much we really understand about what that means. If we did, we would walk differently through this life.
And then there is His love. When my daughter was a toddler, just beginning to walk, I followed her around the house, and watched with such delight as she explored her world. As I watched, I said these words out loud, "If you knew how much I love you, you'd be perfect!" And as they fell from my lips, I realized that it was not me speaking to my daughter, but my Father speaking them to me. If I really understood His love, I'd be perfect. Since that day, I've always understood that as I learn more and more about His love, the more perfected I become.
I have also learned that His love is HOLY. It is mighty to save, perfect in all its ways, powerful, glorious, and beyond our infinite understanding. His love casts out fear, quiets us, sacrifices itself for us, has been poured out in our hearts, binds us to Him, brings us mercy, perfects us, and allows us to be considered the Sons of God.
1 John 3 (KJV)
1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
1 John 3 (Amplified)
1SEE WHAT [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) us is that it does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him.
2Beloved, we are [even here and] now God's children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall [as God's children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is.
3And everyone who has this hope [resting] on Him cleanses (purifies) himself just as He is pure (chaste, undefiled, guiltless).
What an incredible quality of love. That while we were yet sinners, God considered us worthy to send His only Son to sacrifice His home in heaven, and suffer beyond our wildest imagination in physical and emotional pain so that we could be not only have the opportunity to be reconciled beyond our sinful nature, but to know Him, and even resemble Him! He sees us, those who have received the love of His Son, as pure. He looks beyond our flesh nature and sees the finished product! That which we should be working out with fear and trembling. Who is this God who sees fit to take us from sinners, unworthy to sons and daughters? Who is He that He considers us worthy at all? I will never stop asking that question, and I will never stop thanking and praising Him for this holy love!
1 John 4:7-8 (KJV))
7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 John 4:7-8 (Amplified Bible)
7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him].
8He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love.
And that love that He gives us is "shed abroad in our hearts." It is for us as much as it is for all those He puts in our path--like my friend in the restaurant.
In "My Utmost for His Highest," Oswald Chambers says it this way, "If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it is a sure sign that we do not love Him. The evidence of our love for Him is the absolute spontaneity of our love, it comes naturally. In looking back, we cannot ell why we did certain things, we did them according to the spontaneous nature of His love in us. The life of God manifests itself in this spontaneous way because the springs of love are in the Holy Ghost." p121.
I have often remarked that I don't like the terminology of God "using" us. I believe that we are used of God when we, as a result of His love, do what we do in reaction to that love. The more we realize how much He loves us, the more often we will do because He first loved us. I don't believe it is ever God's purpose to "use" us. Just that our doings become a natural and spontaneous reaction to His love for us. It is His joy when our response to His love results in furthering His Kingdom.