Today we’re going to discuss love. What is love? Why is it necessary to the human condition? Why are we empty without it? Why do we long for it so?
WHY WE NEED LOVE
Our answer is twofold today: First, the reason humans need love is because they were created for love. They were created, each one, to partake in a Divine love life. Second, humans need love because love received from this Divine love life overflows the individual and is shed abroad. It passes to others and it changes society. Humans were meant to collectively participate in the Divine love life.
Jesus said, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you…” (John 15:9) You were specifically designed to receive the love of God through Jesus Christ. His love is the highest love there is, because He’s God, and His love was the love for which you were specifically and perfectly created.
Yet we live on a planet that’s been taken captive by sin. And we as the human race have been sold, trafficked under sin. In the flesh and bones of our bodies, we are yoked to the evil slave-master of humanity, who has taken us captive to continually do his will (2 Tim. 2:26). In this state of “fallen” humanity, we are simply unable to produce the kind of love that God produces and has. The kind of love for which we were all created, and which we all need.
Human love can never fulfill the description 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 gives for love. It describes love perfectly, yet it’s an unattainable brand of love… at least for humans to produce. Let’s review it below:
Love is patient,
love is kind and
is not jealous;
love does not brag and
is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly;
it does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness,
but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails
It’s such a high and and wondrously exquisite definition for love, isn’t it? This is the definition of God’s love, and God’s love only. God Himself is love (1 John 4:16). And it is He, as love, whom we are all yearning for.
The enemy who keeps us shackled, deceives us continually. The untrue thoughts that constantly enter our heads come from him, and are designed to manipulate us to do his will. This great deceiver and enemy seeks to steal us from God and His love. So he deceives us into thinking that what can only come from God can come from fallen man. So we seek perfect love from other humans. And that part of our existence which was created for God’s high, robust, unstained and exquisitely lavish love is not filled.
A DIVINE LOVE LIFE
The truth remains that we were created for a Divine love life. To participate in an intimate love relationship with Creator God. You were created to be enraptured and arrested, fulfilled and made whole by the love of God. You were created to receive a love so high, so dependable, so faithful, so endless, so lovely, so beautiful, so pure, so perfect that your soul would live in a perpetual state of utter trust, inner peace, and profound joy. His love received so surprises the receiver of it with its magnitude, that trusting Him becomes natural. As a result, His perfect, high love brings about total calm of heart. And perhaps most wonderful of all, once trust and calmness of heart is born, fullness of joy floods the whole being.
Dear friends, His love is high, but it can be found, received, and experienced on planet earth. The Scriptures, from beginning to end, promise it! If you are not experiencing the trust, calm, and fullness of joy just described, take heart. For years, I personally understood my need to receive God’s perfect love for me. I was highly aware of many negative effects this unbelief produced in my heart and life. I even sought to believe His love with all my heart. And yet, it still eluded me. I couldn’t take hold of it. And I continued to live/act/think out of this void… out of bondage to the evil one and his evil lies.
THE INVITATION OF LOVE
It wasn’t until I understood that Jesus’ command to “Abide in Me, and I in you” (John 15:4) is the expression of, indeed the invitation into His love. These 7 words (Abide in Me, and I in you) are an invitation into His love. The moment a person believes Jesus to be his/her Savior from the domain of darkness (Col. 1:13-14), is the moment a person receives the Holy Spirit and is put “into Christ” (See. Eph. 1:13 and Romans 6:3-4). This means the human now has a very real part in Christ. He is the vine, the earthling is the branches. Together they are one entity, one body with Him, the head. So the command to “abide in Him” is not to now graft yourself, as a branch, onto the vine, Jesus. Please hear this: you’re already there—grafted in—by the Spirit’s indwelling (Rom. 11:24). Rather, the command, indeed the invitation to “abide in Him” is to walk by faith in the union Christ says you have with Him already.
FILLED UP WITH LIFE
So all that remains of this discussion today is to discuss what this union with Christ practically means. The moment of first believing in Jesus—the moment a believer receives the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13)—is also the very moment a person receives the gift of “eternal Life” (Romans 6:23). “Eternal Life” is not simply that a person is gifted with a future of living forever. (In fact, we all live forever, though we will not all live forever in the same place.) Rather, “eternal Life” is a substance one receives into the inner person. “Life” is what the Spirit imparts to man from Jesus (John 1:4). It’s the very thoughts of God in Jesus communicated to the inner man by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to His disciples in John 16:13, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak…” The Holy Spirit hears Jesus’ thoughts, and communicates them to us. This is eternal Life! And this is what we share with Him as we abide in Him by faith. This is what union with Christ practically means (1 John 1:2-4)! And it is this LIFE that arrests our heart, and makes us to know the exquisite, the infinitely high love of God!
Jesus’ Life fills us! Like sap flows from vine to branch and fills it, giving it life and fruit, so, when we walk by faith abiding in Jesus, Jesus’ Life flows from Him to us (via the Holy Spirit) filling us, and gives us Life and fruit (Gal. 5:22-23).
“Abide in Me, and I in you…” (John 15:4)
“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete” (Col. 2:9-10).
These verses speak of our oneness with Jesus—being in Him—and what that oneness supplies—fullness! The word “complete” in verse 10 is a translation of the original Greek which means “to make full, to fill up.” We could also translate the last phrase like this: “…and in Him you have been filled.”
Our abiding in Him by faith results in His Life filling us.
It is in this shared flow of Life that we are united with Christ. And it is as we abide in this union that we come to know and personally and practically experience the love with which He lavishly loves us. When we abide in Jesus, we live perfectly one with the perfect One in perfect love. There is nothing else like it! It is high, and apart from abiding in Him we cannot receive it nor know it. Yet in Him, oh we surely can! And in Him then, we partake in the Divine love life we were created for!
And when we do? His love oozes out of us to others. The abiding person is the person who is able to love others with His love which fills them. This is the love for which we were created, which we can drink from now, and through which we are enabled to love others like we’ve never been able to love them before. And this love, shed abroad, passed onto and into others, changes the very world—one person at a time!
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love… These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” (John 15:9, 11-12)