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True Love

Updated: Jul 15, 2023

What is Love? I was crushed by the reality of the world's selfish and perverted love.

Read:

1 John 4:8b-10

God is love. In this the love of God was manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.


1 John 4:18-19

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us."


Reflect:

  1. How would you describe your relationship with God right now?

  2. Are your strongest relationships built on freedom or fear?

  3. What do you think perfect and true love looks like?


Remember:

What is Love? We were created for an eternal, purposeful, and personal love relationship with God that leads to life overflowing. Is it possible to know true love and to truly love others? Henry Blackaby says in his Bible study, Experiencing God,


"Your relationship to God (Father, Son, and Spirit) is the single most important aspect of your life. If it is not right, nothing else is important."

The world sells a selfish and confused love that leaves us empty, and hopeless. A life lived with our own selfish desires at it's center is not life at all. We might as well be the walking dead, but Jesus told us the secret to life-everlasting and overflowing.


Matthew 22:37-39

And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."


Living in a real personal love relationship with God (Father, Son, and Spirit) isn't just important to life. It is life. It is love. It is freedom. It is hope. We just can't see it or know it until we surrender to his perfect love for us.


But letting go of our tainted view of love is hard. I trusted God's love as a little girl, when I understood my sin separated me from God. I had actually colored all over the the Wease's walls, a sweet family from church who took my family in after my 6 year old sister had died from brain cancer. We had no money and they provided a home, food, and love for us. I was 5 and I realized what I had done was selfish and wrong.


As I sat in the room, having a "timeout," I remembered my Sunday school teacher telling me how Jesus took my punishment, and that if I trust in Him and give Him my life, I can have an eternal relationship with Him. I accepted his gift of forgiveness and turned from my way to follow him.


It would sound so nice to say everything was lollipops and rainbows from that point on, but this world is still broken. A year later, after we had moved into our own apartment, I was crushed by the reality of the world's selfish and perverted love.


Being 6 years old, I innocently liked the gifts and extra affection the man who watched me after school lavished on me. I felt special and cared for. When the abuse started in the secret places that no one else could see, I didn't understand. This, "love," didn't feel good. It left me feeling used, dirty, guilty, and scared. As time went on I closed myself off to love more and more. I began to hate my brokenness, even when that man was out of my life, and I couldn't fathom how anyone could ever really love someone as ugly as me.


I worked to be good for God and everyone else, but surrendering to Christ's love for me and the freedom he had bought, with his life, for me was almost more than I could bare. I'm so thankful he didn't stop pursuing me with his perfect love. He carried me each and every day and clothed me in his righteousness.


Isaiah 61:10a

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness


He continued to work in my life, through His Holy Spirit in me, to show me His love, true love.


Philippians 2:13

It is God who works in you to will and to act accordingly to his good purpose,


As His Holy Spirit opened my eyes, I grew to know God more by spending time with Him (my only safe place), and reading more of His word. I began to see Him in my life, to hear how He was speaking to me, and most of all how He loves me. He didn't pressure or push me to know and love Him. He just loved me first, right where I was, and with a gentle wisper He called my name to rest in Him (1 John 4:8b-10). When I finally surrendered, His love became all encompassing and I found purpose and hope. It wasn't in my perfect love for Him, but in His perfect love for me, just as I am.


Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to live in us and be our security in love, our truth about love, and our Helper to love, until we are united with Him again.


He is our security in love because when we believe, we are sealed for eternity by His Holy Spirit living in us. We can be confident that nothing can separate us from His love.


Ephesians 1:13

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.


Romans 8:38-39

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


He is our truth about love because He opens our eyes to understand the truth of God. The truth of His love and life for us is far different from the world's "truth" about love and life. His love is selfless and eternal. The world's love is selfish and temporary. His life is freedom from sin, on purpose with purpose. The world's "life" is a prison of passing pleasure leading only to despair and death.


John 16:13

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth,


Ephesians 3:17-19

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith---that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.


He is our Helper to love in that He gave us the perfect example of His perfect love through Jesus' selfless sacrifice on our behalf. It's God's Holy Spirit who opens our eyes and our heart to receive and understand His love, and His love makes life worth living. Resting in it's beautiful simplicity is how His Holy Spirit can guide us to love others the way he first loved us (1 John 4:13-19).


Do you want to live life free from fear and full of love? Perfect love casts out fear; fear of the future, fear of the past, fear of our own inadequacies and failures, even fear to love others. I am learning to rest in His perfect love, and my purpose and hope are secure in that. Choose life in His love today and make it the center of all you are. His perfect love gives us life as we overcome through him.


John 1:4

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


1 Corinthians 13:13

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


Learning about God's love is the adventure and experience of a lifetime. The scars and bruises from my past still rear their ugly heads to this day. The broken love in the world causes me to doubt my value, my beauty, my confidence, and my purpose. I'm so thankful that I can run to God with all of my doubts. He holds me just as I am and reminds me that my value is immeasurable, my beauty incalculable, my confidence unshakable, and my purpose unfathomable.


My Identity is not built on me and it's absolutely not built in what others have done to me. My identity is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I am His and He is mine.


He knew this is the true love I would need when the rest of my world was shattered to pieces. His true love is all I would have left in the world and I continue to learn even now that it is more than enough, so much more than enough for me.



Read on to the next post: See how I lost my identity and my world was shattered: The Great "I AM"



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