The love God expects

Published 9:32 am Saturday, February 2, 2019

By Nathan Decker

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

— Lao Tzu

Ahhhh, February. There is something great about February. December is exciting because of Christmas and presents. January’s holidays are more reflective about the great people and events in our history. But February comes in short and cute, winking at us about groundhogs and Valentines. February is about love. The entire message of God’s story, the Bible, can be summed up in Love. God expects us to love.

God expects us to love God. Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength.”

When we wake up in the morning and give thanks to God for making it through another night, it’s like kissing our lover in the morning. When we stop at the stoplight and catch a glimpse of a bird in flight and pause in deep reflection, it’s like looking deep into the eyes of our beloved. When we worship, in song and heart and faith, we love God. We express what can’t be seen or felt, but somehow we send to the heavens what can only be described as our adoration.

God expects us to love one another. In the Gospels it seems Jesus slaps his hand to his forehead a lot. He shakes his head in disbelief at how many times we choose things over people, being right instead of being in relationship, or our outright apathy. As Christians, we are supposed to be known by our love.

Augustine said, “The one who is filled with love is filled with God.” Jesus challenged us not only to love neighbors and those we interact, but also our enemies and the people who are unlovable. He took the time to forgive the woman caught in adultery, to hug the leper and to call out Pharisees’ poor behavior. He did all of this in love, teaching us how to love one another.

God expects us to love the garden in which he placed us. Taking care of the environment isn’t a political stance. It’s a God-given mandate. In Genesis we are called to be stewards of the cosmos God has created. Long before pollution was an issue God told us in Numbers 35:34, “You shall not pollute the land in which you live, the land in which I reside, for I am among you.” God asks us to take care of creation because all the Earth does not belong to us, but to the Lord. We are only the servants, this is God’s vineyard.

God offers us love.

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” says Augustine.

This love is freely given to us as a gift. But this is not a knickknack to be put on the shelf. This love God gives us changes us from the inside out. We begin to love as God loves. We begin to reflect God’s love back to heaven as worship. We begin to share God’s love with one another. We take responsibility in loving all that God has given us. Love. Love unbridled. Love in such a way that you feel the Spirit moving through you. Love. After all, it’s what Jesus would do.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

– John 13:34