by Dane Massey
(Dane Massey is the former Pastor of Mulvane Christian Church. He is now in ministry in Houston, Texas.)
I’ve set out many times to love God more earnestly or to focus on loving my neighbor only to drift away into other matters. Why?
Because loving God and loving my neighbor is a by-product of a deepening understanding of the Love of God.
To grow deep in the Love of God is to tap into the wellspring from which everything else flows. We see this emphasis in Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in Eph. 3:14-21.
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.”
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
To comprehend His great love toward us requires not only discipline and reflective thought centered in scripture but a revealing work of the Spirit within us. We see this in Romans 5:1-5.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
God’s love is not something He does, it is who He Is! It is the whole of His character as is Holiness.
The saints of old referred to God as without part or passion and they were correct. What does this mean? (I definitely don’t think on their level but here is a partial and simple definition that can help us as we think on the love of God):
First, He is without part – we cannot divide God up. He is not 50 percent loving and 50 percent holy. He is completely holy, completely love, completely sovereign, completely just, completely righteous, etc, and He is never less at any time.
God is Love at the flood, at Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction, and the Cross. There is “no variableness nor shadow of turning in Him.”
It is impossible for God, even in the time of great calamity and bitterness to be less loving. We see this in Jeremiah’s Lamentation. As he sits and reflects upon the destruction of Jerusalem, the horrible suffering, the death, the starvation, the loss.
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” Lamentations 3:21-24
God doesn’t grow in His love for us as we grow in Him. His love for us has always been, is now, and will always be the same. It is who He is. He is without part.
Second, He is without passion. God is not subject to moods or circumstances. His love does not ebb and flow based on the conditions of the moment.
His love is consistent, constant and continuous. This is the anchor for our soul in the midst of an ever changing, questioning, harsh world.
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31, 38-39).