“But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
In Part 1 of this devotion, we talked about how Christ’s characteristics depict love. These characteristics are found in 1 Corinthians 13. In Part 2, we discussed how we’re called to be Christ-like by giving love. Jesus summed up our responsibility in two commandments: Love God and Love Others. In Part 3, I want to share with you how God demonstrated His love for us and how we can demonstrate ours in return.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)
God Created Us, the Earth and Everything in it
Day One: Night and Day
Day Two: Sky
Day Three: Land, Sea, and Vegetation
Day Four: Sun, Moon, and Stars
Day Five: Fishes and Birds
Day Six: Live Stock, Wild Animals, and Man in God’s Image
Day Seven: God rested
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31). When God created us in His image, He was pleased with His work. God had just completed creating the world so He step back to admire what He had done.
God Loves the World
Before we were even born, God loved us. God didn’t just throw us together; He took special care with design. I’m always awed when I stop to think about what God really did. It amazes me how intricately we are made. Our brains have more processing power than the best super computer. We have self-healing properties and respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems that were designed to function without any intervention. God loved us so much that He chose to make us in His image. He created our inmost being and knitted us in our mother’s wombs. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14).
The Breadth and Depth of God’s Love
It’s hard for us to truly comprehend just how much God loves us. Apostle Paul said, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, 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” (Ephesians 3:17-19). God’s love can’t be measured but I’m sure we can go as far as deep space and beyond and still run right into His love. His love is so vast and great that we can’t truly comprehend. The love we feel for our loved ones are a mere fraction of what He feels for us.
Because we’re not practiced in the art of unconditional love, we struggle to understand how God could love us so much; especially when we don’t deserve it. Christ demonstrated His love for us by humbling Himself to death on the cross:
"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:6-8)
That’s exactly how God demonstrated His love for us. He clothed Himself in human flesh and came down to Earth as a child born to the Virgin Mary. As the Only Begotten Son (John1:18), He came with a plan to redeem mankind. When the time was right, He died for our sins (Romans 5:6-8).
Think about this for a minute. If you have a child would you be willing to sacrifice him or her for someone you love? I might be wrong about this, but I’m pretty sure that if nothing else you hesitated just a little bit. If you don’t have any children, would you be willing to sacrifice yourself for someone you love? Again you probably hesitated just a bit. What about sacrificing your child or yourself for someone who doesn’t deserve it? Probably not at all, right? Well that’s exactly what Christ did. He loves us so much, even when we don’t deserve it, that He died so that we would have life.
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13)
Jesus did just that without mumbling or complaining. He showered us with love by completing His mission and returning to the right hand of the Father where He's still showering us with love as He intercedes for us (Romans 8:34).
We Must Believe
To be beneficiaries of this great and sacrificial gift of love, there are some requirements. We must confess and believe so that we can be saved (Romans 10:9). Then we have to have faith, realizing that we did nothing to earn this love.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
We have to understand that God has done all this for us because of His great love and not because of anything we did. We are justified by our faith and we have peace with Christ (Romans 5:1). God demonstrated His love for us, so our natural response is for us to return the love. We do this by adoring Him, bowing down to Him and confessing that He is Lord.
"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" (Philippians 2:9-1)
We Won’t Perish
Prior to salvation through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we were destined for a fiery lake (Revelations 21:8), eternal torment (Revelation 14:10-11), and condemnation (John 5:28-29). But because of the love that God has for us, we won’t perish. Salvation is a gift freely given by a loving God.
“Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgression – it is by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:4-5)
We Will Live Forever
We are immortal beings destined to live forever. We have a choice, we can accept God’s unfailing love (Psalm 77:8) or we can live without God. We can choose to draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us (James 4:8) or we can choose to entertain Satan. Whatever choice we make will determine we’re we‘ll spend the rest of Eternity. While our loving Father continues to bless us with many blessings here on Earth, we can also look forward to our reward in Heaven (Mark 5:12). God loves us so much that He’s willing to go to extreme measures to eradicate sin and death.