As we have attempted to better understand the character and nature of God's love, in Part 1 we established the foundational, Biblical basis for God's love for us. Today, let's consider our own parental relationship with our children. This, in turn, will provide for us a model for our relationship with our own Heavenly Father. We know we love our children--this should help us better understand how God loves us as His children.
When our children were infants, we held them close at every turn. We heard their cries and tended to their every need. When they were toddlers, we shadowed them constantly, keeping them nurtured, occupied, and safe from harm. When they were preschoolers, we joyfully did life alongside them (reading, baking, walking, talking, listening, working, serving, worshiping, praying, and playing).
This is love in action, a kingdom principle. As parents, we place our children under our power, authority, protection, and provision, where all actions are motivated by love. We know what they need better than they do. Our children do not intellectualize or analyze our great love for them from the outside looking in. No, they stand within our love for them and are doused by it, fully surrounded and saturated by it. They freely receive our love, gulping it in, no strings attached. They experience it fully, and as they mature, they learn to depend upon it.
Our love for them covers over a multitude of sin. Our love is unconditional and ought to be laced with patience, kindness, humility, honor, forgiveness, truth, hope, perseverance, and protection. Our parental love plants within their tender and innocent hearts the burgeoning seeds of communal relationship. We desire to be with our children, and our children desire to be with us.
Now let's see ourselves as the children of a Heavenly Father. What does it mean to come to the Lord as a child or to have a child-like faith? I think it might mean that we come humbly and expectantly to the Lord, full of trust and with our eyes wide open. We approach Him as we are, dirty fingernails and all. We desire His presence because we know He delights in ours. We know He loves us without exception or condition.
He hears our cries, feeds us, nurtures us, provides for us, and protects us. He loves us unconditionally. He knows what we need better than we do.
As His child, we receive His love in order to know Him and to experience His love. When we receive His love we receive His kingdom. Jesus made a point of beckoning young children into His presence. In Luke we read: "But Jesus called for them, saying, 'Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all'" (18:16-17).
We may have knowledge that He loves us. We may even receive this love and this kingdom (salvation) but then choose not to become continually filled with and saturated by this love. Friends, when we are not centered within His love, we enter a danger zone where situations and conditions reign. Instead of rising above circumstance, we bow before it.
In essence, we pull the plug on God's love. Our hearts are swept away by shifting tides, and we lose our bearings. Instead of stationing ourselves firmly within His love (like a trusting child), we position ourselves outside of it. We exchange child-like faith for adult-like intellect. We exchange life-giving surrender for life-zapping human striving.
After we have knowledge of His love and after we come to Him as a child receiving HIs kingdom, how are we then sustained by His love for us? In other words, how does His love affect how we live and what difference does His love make in the day-to-day of it all? How do we live within His love instead of without it?
We are getting closer to the answer....Stay tuned for Part 3 where we will discuss Elevation.
The Lord GOD is my strength,
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