I asked my oldest son what is the greatest thing I could give to him this Christmas. Without missing a beat, he replied, “Dad, I want you to take me hunting.” Well, Christmas has come and gone, the presents have all been opened, and tonight is the night for me to fulfill his 1 request. There’s something biblically ironic about Trey’s request. Jesus said in Matthew 7, “What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?” If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” And complimenting this, James 1:17 reads, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.” That means that nothing we do can make God love His children any more or any less.
It’s literally unfathomable how much God loves us! And yet, when I struggle with any area of my life, my quickest response is to consider that either somehow He isn’t loving me as much as He has before or that I have somehow decreased in my love for Him. Either way, the focus is wrong, and therefore the result is wrong. For example, when stress rises because circumstances go south (running behind escalates into car problems which climaxes with missed appointments), then I react by thinking God has grown tired of me in some way; so, He must not be loving me much at that point. Or on the other hand, if I become vividly aware of a certain reoccurring temptation in my life, I react by declaring that my love for God must be waning. These real-life scenarios have captivated the focus of my time with God this final week of 2010 – to contemplate God’s love for me. After all, isn’t that the real meaning of Christmas? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16.
I must admit that God is speaking to me with a direction I did not anticipate at all. I began thinking about where I stood with Christ and where Mobberly stands with Christ (as I do at the end of every year, sort of a spiritual, year-end evaluation). I expected to walk away with a list of commitments for me and a list of priorities for Mobberly for 2011. But so far, the slate has only minimally been written on. Simply, “Believe means to receive.”
While receiving His unfathomable love is the key, according to God, He actually wants us to try and fathom it! The Apostle Paul prayed for his close friends in Ephesus, “I pray that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love” (Eph 3:18). That means that the answer for every struggle we face is not us getting more of God’s love or us loving God more, but in resting in His already present, all-sufficient, out-of this world, love for us!
- The origin of my life with Christ started with God’s love: “This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us” 1 John 3:16.
- The continuance of my life is sustained by God’s love. “In all these things we are more than victorious through Him who has loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:37-39).
- The future of my life in Christ is seen in God’s love: “love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment for we are as He is in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us” 1 John 4:17-19.
I am truly overwhelmed with my Father’s love for me. And now I pray that I can show His depth of love to my 7 year old as we pack up to go hunting.