I like the title for today’s study – don’t you? God’s special type of love gives us a taste for what it will be like in heaven. It’s of great comfort for us to know that as Paul writes (and quoted by Selwyn today): ‘God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us‘; that we all have the ability to love each other in the same way that God loves us. It is a gift from Jesus.
This type of divine love is different to any other type of love experienced by people who do not know Jesus. Relationships that depend on human love need to be constantly maintained, and increase or decrease in intensity depending on the quality of communication and contact there is between the people involved. Long-term friendships that are maintained only by Christmas cards once a year; are perhaps exercises in nostalgia – fond memories of times past. Nothing wrong with this at all but it’s very different to the way God loves us. Another interesting aspect is that most, if not all, of my long-term friends are Christians. We appear to be bonded by an eternal love, and as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:8 re yesterday’s text for reading and meditation, ‘(God’s) Love never fails.’
The other point that I thought was good in today’s study is this: ‘When Paul lists the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5, we hold our breath to see which will come first. Will it be power? Or peace? Or joy? No, the first fruit of the Spirit is love. … Love is first in the list because it belongs there. There is no other place for it but the first place.’
Why do you think this is so?
When I was thinking about this, I recalled another verse from yesterday – 1 Corinthians 13:3; ‘If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames but have not love, I gain nothing.’ Clearly, Paul sees the expression of God’s love in our daily life as evidence that God’s Spirit resides in us and we can allow this love to flow from us like streams of living water – that is, if we in turn allow God to have full control of the ‘tap’.
Selwyn’s prayer is worth repeating: “O God my Father, I see that I need love above everything else. And I need your unique brand of love. I need it not sprinkled here and there but flowing into every part of my life. Pour it in, dear Lord. In Christ’s name I Pray. Amen.”
Jesus seeks a relationship with us based on love. A ‘brand’ of love He Himself gives us – as a gift – not because we deserve it – but because He first loved us. I find it hard to understand why people don’t grab hold of this truth and place it deep inside their heart and mind. I’m sure that whatever happens to us in this life will seem like one brief, bad night in a terrible motel once we reach home still holding onto this deposit of God’s love. Do you agree?