From my previous post, I hope you were able to feel the tension between a desire to know and experience true love with the stark reality of fear, hate, selfishness, and deceit found within society and even your own heart. The most common question ever asked, “Why does suffering exist?” reveals that tension most clearly. Does it seem that each time you begin to experience a genuine, loving relationship, it gets snatched away or sullied in some way? Are you frustrated by your own unloving words or actions toward those whom you claim to love the most? Are you tempted to question the love of God because of the unloving behavior you have experienced at the hands of others? I know I am. Let’s consider the reason for our frustrations with the subject of love.
The first mistake when addressing the topic of love is the false assumption that love is sourced from or can be innately defined by humanity. God’s Word tells us something very different. It should become clear why love is such a mystery to the human heart when we discover that love did not originate in the human heart. According to 1 John 4:7-8, Love is one of the primary definitions of God and is sourced directly from God. The Bible clearly states, “God is love” and that “Love is from God.” We have the capacity to accept and give love because we were created in God’s image for the purpose of enjoying a loving relationship with Him and the other humans He created. But a capacity for something doesn’t mean an innate understanding of or ability to fully live out that inborn potential. I think it is pretty clear that we all have fallen far short of that potential.
Study it Out
When God created mankind, He made those first humans in His image. They were designed to reflect God with minds to think, emotions to feel, and wills to choose. As created beings, Adam and Eve had to learn and grow in all of these gifts from God just as every human born after them does. Read Genesis 1-2 and make note of God’s careful provision for mankind. What was the one “need” He allowed Adam to fully experience before providing for that need? What does that tell you about Adam’s lack of understanding and necessity to grow in love? Why does this show Adam’s need to trust (or place his faith in) His Creator? What will God continue to be showing us throughout all of eternity according to Ephesians 2:7? If we will still be learning about love throughout eternity when we are free from sin, what does that show you about your need to learn and grown in love while here on Earth?
Adam and Eve didn’t continue to trust God’s wisdom or provision, though. They chose to believe in their own definition of right and wrong. They chose to believe that God was withholding good from them and chose to define love for themselves based on their extremely limited knowledge, experience, and finite nature. By making this choice, they forfeited the loving relationship they enjoyed with their Creator, and even life itself. Death and destruction are the natural consequences of rebellion against God. To understand the reality of this more clearly, read the following passages and make a list of what else is sourced from and therefore defined by God alone in addition to love.
- Colossians 1:16-17; 3:4
- Colossians 2:2-3
- Titus 2:11-14
- John 14:6
- Ephesians 2:14
Are you seeing a pattern? As James tells us, every good gift is from above, and we can’t expect to experience good apart from God. It should now be clear why faith is necessary to our study on love. Just as Adam and Eve chose to put their trust (or faith) in themselves instead of God, our natural tendency is also to believe in our own understanding. Tomorrow we will see how Love has made a way for us to place our trust and hope in Him alone in order to enjoy and grow in love for all eternity.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible…And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:1,3,6)
Are you looking for more devotional or Scripture memory resources? Find gifts, artwork, crafts and other devotional printables at Etsy.com/Shop/BreathingGrace. You can also find the original Breathing Grace 50 day devotional on Amazon.com/author/RobertsSarah along with a 30 day devotional for Thanksgiving and a 31 day devotional and ornament maker for Advent. All devotionals are available in both KJV and ESV versions of the Bible.