For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
As a father myself I know the joy of giving, it’s something I enjoy doing for our children and now our two grandsons. It’s fun to watch the pleasure of others receiving and seeing the delight on their faces. Maybe our giving involves a small amount of sacrifice but that is often out-weighed by the pleasure of the moment.
In a few days time we’ll be celebrating Christmas and the greatest gift of all. This was a gift that cost the giver everything, it was probably not easy and, knowing the outcome, it possibly was painful. Yet our Father gave. He gave his only son who came to the world, embracing our humanity, with one simple aim in mind. He came to become, and to show us, the way that we could be reconciled to the Father. He came to bring us back home. He came to show us we are loved in the same way as he is loved.
This gift cost the Father everything but he did it because he wanted a family. He wanted his family to return to him.
And so at Christmas, we celebrate the beginning of our journey home. It started as it continues, in simplicity and weakness. It is a gift for those whose eyes can see, for those who have a childlike heart to receive the greatest gift of all.
Have a wonderful Christmas with family and friends, the next Weekly Signpost will be in the New Year.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (1 John 4:16)
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:18-19)
The love of the Father is totally reliable. It is not fickle, swayed by the uncertainty of circumstances or emotion. When John writes that we can 'know and rely' on the love that God has for us, he is using words that describe a relationship, they describe an experience. They are words that go beyond facts or knowledge resting in our mind. John starts this letter by telling his readers about the things that he himself has seen, heard and touched. He is describing his experience and is inviting us into a similar and personal encounter with God, as Father.
It's a relationship of life that is rooted and grounded in love. One of the biggest hindrances we face is fear. Fear paralyses and seeks to destroy the life of God in us. It holds us back and prevents us living fully as sons and daughters.
As we rely on the Father's love, fear has to go. The more we live in love the more our fears are driven away. Fear condemns but love releases and sets us free. Too often we try and face our fears which that can be draining. Instead, let us turn into love for it is love that will drive the fear away.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:7-10)
The Father lavishes his love on us. This means it’s an overwhelming, generous torrent of love that is constantly cascading into our heart. I encourage you to go on asking for more as there is no limit nor end to the Father’s love for us. It is an everlasting love.
As we become at home with and in love, that love begins to transforms us. Love works the nature of Christ in us and we become free to walk as Jesus walked. We live a life rooted and established in love, where love is the foundation of everything we do and everything we are. Love cannot help but transform.
We, therefore, are not the source of love, it is not generated in our heart. God, the Father, is the source of love and we can only love because he first loved us. For us to love one another we need first to be planted in his eternal love. We need to be the constant recipient of love in order that it can work in us and then flow outwards to others. We can’t make ourselves love others, we do so as his love flows through us.
If you are in a situation where you feel you need more love for someone. Why not turn your gaze on the Father and ask him to fill you with more of his love. Ask purely for your own benefit and not with the aim of becoming a more loving person. That will automatically follow as you live loved.