“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
–1 John 4:7-11
One of the most famous lines you’ll ever hear about the Lord is this: “God Is Love.” It’s so famous, in fact, that it’s practically become a truism, or so it seems. God Is Love. It seems so self-evident that it’s almost like the idea no longer needs thinking about. It appears so obvious, that rarely does anyone consider what it actually means for them in their own lives and in the way that they’re lived.
So let’s get the obvious out of the way. God Is Love. His love for us embraces all that we are, as well as all that we’re not. It’s a constant, an unchanging, unchangeable, ever-present reality. God’s love is a force of supernature, as unstoppable as the weather or the march of time.
So far, so good, right? God Is Love. It’s an idea we’ve lived with as Christians since we first became aware that that’s who we wanted to be. A child can tell you that Jesus loves you. But there’s more to it than that, and the only reason that it seems obvious is because it’s so huge that we have difficulty taking it all in. It’s outrageous. God’s love is outrageous!
He doesn’t deal in half measures. He’s all the way, all in, all the time. There is nothing we can do to make Him love us more, and there is nothing we can do that will make Him love us less. He will not love us more if we become better people, if we become better parents, better partners, better brothers, sisters, in blood or in the Church. He will not love us any less if we decide that we have no plans to change, or if we have no intention right now of walking with Him. He loves us, simply because that is what He is like. It’s His nature. God. Is. Love. The reason a child can tell you that Jesus loves you, is that children don’t quibble about such obvious, unequivocal things. Children accept it, in all its manifest majesty—it’s adults that put up roadblocks against the unstoppable. God is love. Smile, because Jesus loves you.
So ask yourselves, does that mean something in the way that you live your life, in the way that you intend to approach it from here on in? Well, how can it not? He loves you unconditionally, always. From that perfect love comes perfect trust, because God’s boundless love for us is a universal constant. It’s not going to change. It cannot change, because that’s the nature of God. That means that it’s something that can be utterly relied upon at all times. Perfect trust stems from that. How can it not?
From that perfect love also comes perfect forgiveness. Because that perfect love encompasses all of us: the good; the bad; the indifferent; and the different in our hearts, our minds, our actions and our thoughts. It means there’s nothing we can do to wreck it—and you can believe that many have tried, but it simply can’t be done. Once you become certain of God’s love and begin to trust in it, confidence cannot help but come from that. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” We know that to be true. It’s not advice for us to take or not to take—it’s a statement of fact, that this is what we do.
As we allow ourselves to be loved and as we experience what that is like for ourselves, we’ll have a tiny glimpse of how we believe God actually sees us. With that trust and that burgeoning confidence comes the faith we need to step forward in Christ. That means that our faith is an extension of God’s love, part of the application of God’s love. God’s love is what allows the Spirit to take flight in our lives. It makes us supernatural creatures in Him. We are more, because of God’s love.
And with those levels of trust and confidence leading to faith, we become stronger people in Christ. We become happier people. We rise above the world. We flourish. We learn the power that comes from a different way of thinking, a positive way of thinking…the way that God has had planned for us all along. At that moment, all manner of adventures are possible. When we abandon negativity, about ourselves, about life, about our futures, we gain the power of possibility. Things open up for us, doors, hearts and minds. We become able to accomplish. The question stops being WHETHER, and it starts to be WHEN, as caution gives way to curiosity, timidity to boldness, and apathy to excitement.
In the love of God, life is full of wonderful possibilities. We trust him for every single one of them. How does God’s love mean something for the way we live our lives? How can it not?