And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.

2 John 6

 

The ideal of love that we see and hear depicted in our culture is one in which there is never any trouble, strife, or conflict. It lives in a land of harmony and complete satisfaction. Its roads are paved with rose petals, and the air is always sweet with the aroma of spring flowers. This love is unsustainable in our world. It is unrecognizable for most people on almost every day of their lives. Unfortunately, aspiring to it and holding it up as the ideal tends to confuse and to lead us astray from truth. In fact, it would seem that God holds a much higher view of love. He sees it as foundational to all of Creation, for true love is defined by the nature of God. Human knowledge of love starts with knowing God, and our ability to experience love is His gift to us.

 

What is so hard about living in a world where God’s perspective on love is the one that we seek is that His way of loving is not easy. It is not simple enough to be memorialized on a greeting card, either. God, the Father, sacrificed everything for the sake of loving us. He laid it all on an altar of suffering, pain, and shame in order for us to escape the eternal wrath that was due us on account of our rebellion. That is love! The road of love that Christ traveled for us leads through the heat of the desert and through the wild dangers of the jungle. It takes its followers into the war torn streets of our modern world’s endless conflict. It gives our last cup of water to the wounded enemy who only moments before was attempting to take our own life. Christ’s love brings peace by living, speaking, and standing strong in the truth of God’s Word. It does not compromise, and it is not modified by cultural context.

 

Regardless of the circumstances of our personal story of coming to faith in Christ, God’s part in it was founded in love. He cares deeply and profoundly for each person who walks this earth. He loves every life that is created. The strongest and the weakest, those who live to old age and the ones that are never born are equally the objects of God’s loving care and grace. It is God’s greatest desire that we would love Him in like manner and that our love of Him would naturally lead us to love everyone else as He does. This is a love that reaches out to save the life that is being sacrificed to greed and to selfishness. This love risks everything in this world in order to bring the face of Christ to its sin ravaged places. A love like this brings food to the starving but isn’t willing to stop without also sharing the deeply personal truth of satisfaction that comes from knowing Christ. Living life as one who is loved by the Most High God brings great risk, but it also leads our feet to travel in the footsteps of our Savior.

 

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