Everyone wants a handbook. I like to-do lists. Everyone has something they want to do better.
So, how do you “be a better person”? A better Christian? Do this life right? Or maybe the question the heart wants to ask is, “When will this life do better by me?”
There are walls of books at the library and bookstores on how to have your best life now, or how to do it right, or what to do. And we tune in on whatever preacher tickles the ears to give us the “you’re not so bad speech” and the “get ready, cause God’s gonna flood you with blessing today.” But what about those days when curses come? When those slashes of life leave us bleeding and wounded? When time after time we fall and we see that it was our own rusted blunt of a sword that tripped us up?
And I hear it ring in my ears, like the tones after a hearing exam that just won’t go away. “Just Love God.” “Love. God. More.”
I just want to crawl up into His lap and grab the front of His robe and plead, “But HOW?”
And the answer comes as all His answers come…as a question.
What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
How do we glorify God?
It is no coincidence that the first and greatest commandment is
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matt 22:37-40)
For when we love God completely, His glory is displayed (through our worship, through our service, through our sacrificial love toward each other).
And, how much do I love?
Again, the answer-question.
And the realization of this reciprocal rule, this reciprocal circle, it hits my heart like a gong that rings out His love.
The love of God toward us is so full, so unconditional and so relentless, that He. Sent. Christ.
Because God loves US as He loves His own Son (see John 17:23-24).
Because God, Himself, abides by the first and greatest commandment and the second that is like it.
Because God is God, and Jesus is God, and the Spirit is God, and all 3 are One, and The Father loves The Son, and the Son loves The Father, The Spirit points all to Christ, and The Father sent. His. Son.
And this whole wild mind boggling cosmic circle of love just explodes radiant piercing the atmosphere of this sin-sick earth, engulfing our forever-promised hearts in its wake.
And the kicker to this whole happy headache? That Jesus, Himself, expresses personal desire for broken-us to Be. With. Him. Jesus actually wants us to be with Him, where He is. And He says it, in His own prayer to His Father…
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:20-26)
And that is IT.
It’s not how can I, how do I…
It is that He IS, and He DID, and so, “it is finished”.
He IS Love
He demonstrates that Love
He gives us that Love…
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? ~Romans 8:32
Freely. This love is not and cannot be generated within our selves, no. It must be given, poured into us so it can flow out.
…because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~Romans 5:5
So, what is left for me to do to be better? To love more? To get this love?
Yes, just ask.
And yet, I fear I’ve only begun to scratch the surface…
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us ~Stuart Townsend
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom