Our Journey Home to Love

Our need for love

Our lives are a journey. In fact there may be two journeys that are intertwined.

We devote our time and energy to what we do, what we achieve, what we want to become. This is the external journey, the one everybody sees - our work, our play, even our church life. On this journey we ask an important question - "Who am I?"

Then there is the second journey, perhaps more important but not so clearly seen or understood. This is the internal journey of our hearts, the place we can hear the voice of the One who gave everything for us, the voice of One who woos us into an intimate relationship. On this journey we also ask the question "Who am I?".

Each journey has the same question but the answer is very different. The answer to the external journey will not satisfy the deep longing of our hearts. We will never be able to hit the mark. We may have answers for a while but then the satisfaction drains away, leaving us searching once more.

We have to pursue the internal journey of our heart because it is only then that we find the love and security that we have been searching for.

God is love

1 John 4:1-8 God is LOVE. The complete expression of love is to be found in a person. He is not a substitute nor a counterfeit but the real thing!

Love is not one of God's attributes but it is His very nature. Everything He does is in love, with love and for love.

Love explains...

Why God creates - He creates people to love.
Why God cares - because of His love He cares for sinful people.
Why we are free to choose - He wants a loving response from us.
Why Jesus died - His love found a solution for our sin.
Why we receive eternal life - God's love never ends.

Live in love

1 John 4:16 We live in Him (John 15) and He makes His home with us. (John 14:23)

How God shows His love

Demonstrated most clearly through Jesus - John 3:16
But also demonstrated in many practical ways:
Zeph 3:17 - mighty to save, delights in us, rejoices over us with singing.
Is 40:11 - cares for us like a shepherd cares for his flock.
Rev 21:3-4 - comes to live with us, wipes the tears away from our eyes.
Ps 34:18 - close to the brokenhearted.
Ps 139:13 - created us in our mother's womb.
2 Thes 2:16 - encourages us.
Ps 139:17 - He thinks about us!

Four types of love

Agape
Rom 5:8 John 3:16 God's love is unconditional. It is freely given because God wants His family back. It is covenantal, permanent and flawless. There is nothing we can do to earn or win God's love. Nothing can be added or taken from God's love - it is complete!

Eros
The intimacy of a lover and His bride. Examples - Song of Songs, the Bride in Revelation. Society has distorted the true meaning of eros. It has led us to believe that sex will fulfil our every need for love. We look to eros to become a substitute for other loves but find that it does not satisfy our needs.

Phileo
Natural affection and kindness. The love of a friend, brother, caring neighbour. This was the way that Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

Storge
Family love, the love of a mother. Tenderness, provision of warmth or food. Comfort - imparted through touch, eye contact and tone of voice. If we do not receive this love in our childhood then there is a hole deep within us that needs to be filled. We often try to fill this hole with things that do not satisfy. Instead the Father wants to fill it with His love.

Our search for love

We all need unconditional love
Jer 31:3 Loved with an everlasting love. Not for what we do nor for what we achieve but for who we are.
We need to feel safe Ps 61:1-4 Ps 32:7 Ps 27:1

We need encouragement and affirmation
Children need lots of praise to counteract criticism.
Boys need to know their dads are proud of them.
Girls need to know they are beautiful.
Col 2:2 'encouraged in heart and united in love'

A sense of meaning and purpose
Jer 29:11 God has plans for us!

God satisfies our need for love
God wants to satisfy our need for love.
In fact, He is the only one who will completely satisfy the needs and desires of our hearts.
We look for love (agape, eros, phileo and storge) because we need it! God will express His love to us in these four ways because HE IS LOVE.
He will love us with His 'agape' foundational, unconditional love.
He desires to woo us into an intimate 'eros' relationship.
He will express His 'phileo' kindness and affection to us.
He will nurture, care and provide the 'storge' love we all need.

Rom 5:5 We are filled with His love by the Holy Spirit.
1 John 4:16 We live in love, not as casual visitors, but at home with love.
2 John 1:6 We walk in love.
Eph 3:16-19 We are to become rooted and grounded in love.

To have our love deficit filled, we need to keep running to Father and not to people or things. Only He will truly satisfy.

When we have it - we can give it

We need love yet we also have the ability to love.

If we live in the external journey of our lives we will only be able to love from a very limited reservoir - it will not meet people's needs. It will not help them answer the main question of life.

When we live in the internal journey of our hearts and have found the Father's love for ourselves we will have something to give to others.

How do we get it?

We can't strive or work for it. It is a gift of grace.

To start the journey we have to let go of 'oughts' and 'duty' and start living out of desire. Jesus showed us the way: coming like a little child, humbling ourselves, letting go of our pride and independence.

We can stop pursuing the external journey centered around self and pursue the internal journey centered on the Person who is Love.

Mat 11:28 A journey of rest in Him.

Along the way many things will try to stop us receiving the Father's love. We may need to move through pain and ask Father to heal us.

God, the Father, is waiting to lavish His perfect love on you!

HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE THAT THE FATHER HAS LAVISHED ON US, THAT WE SHOULD BE CALLED CHILDREN OF GOD! AND THAT IS WHAT WE ARE! 1 John 3:1 (NIV)