[reprinted from November 11, 2011]
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
In Matthew’s gospel after Jesus was baptized and went through 40 days of temptation in the desert, He began to preach. And His first proclamation was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”.
God loved us so much that He sent His Son, gave His Son as the only sacrifice that would wipe out my sins. Jesus was the blood sacrifice. And His first sermon was about repentance. “Turn away from your sinning, Jody. Make a change. Come My way. And live with the Father forever.” It’s that simple. But not easy.
Sin is the “comfortable” place where I am born. It is what my flesh wants to do. It is where my pride and my ego can live and grow. It takes little effort for me to do as I please. Like a child, I have to learn what is best for me. I have to obey my Father when He knows better than I do, when I do not see the consequences of my actions.
The thing is, God has this extravagant, overwhelming love for me. His motivation for desiring that I am obedient is – love. God is not about harsh discipline or seeing me suffer. He is about showing me, through Jesus’ example and His Spirit’s wisdom, how to live a life that is full of joy despite the hardships of this world. He wants me to see the treasures that are not destroyed by rust or age (Matthew 6:19).
Let’s spend time this weekend thinking, reading, listening to God’s love for each of us, allowing the words to become more. Consider: is it your spouse or sibling or parent just saying “I love you” or is it growing to know them and know their love in your heart. Let’s allow that to happen at a new level this weekend. Here are some passages to read when you get up in the morning or before bed at night or as you sit in the sun this weekend or in front of a warm fire with a warm drink. Pick a couple and give it a try.
1 Corinthians 13
2 Corinthians 1
1 Peter 4
1 John 3
I Will Carry You written by Nate Laughlin & Michael W Smith, sung by Michael W Smith