When I was about 12 years old I really wanted to get my Dad a Christmas gift that would communicate my love for him! But, what do you get for the guy who already has what he needs? Kids generally don’t have the kind of resources to go for that ‘big ticket’ item, so they wonder, “Do we just buy another shirt?”
When I became a Dad it was clear to me that the greatest gift is love. Those handmade cards made by 10 year-olds who labor for hours to get it `just right‘ are priceless. About 10 years ago my son, Sean, presented me with a beautiful book of memories, something he made with love, and that gift still evokes real and deep emotion in me when I hold it.
Tragically, there are parents who somehow miss out on the basics of loving, who are incapable of the self-less love that is so critically important for the emotional and spiritual health of their child. Children are terribly damaged by a dysfunctional or selfish Dad who demands huge favors, who asks to be treated like a petty king, or one who cannot or will not engage with his progeny in warm and accepting affection.
God teaches us about giving, about love, by giving us of His best! That well-known passage reminds us of the heart of Christmas. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NLT) We were not noble, nor were we seeking Him, yet He loved! “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NKJV)
Have you accepted His love, by faith, for yourself? Do you come to Him with an open heart, not trying to manipulate Him, but content to love Him as He loves you?
Take a look at this Scripture that clues us in to the best way to love Him. It isn’t with some big gift that makes up for years of apathy or that spectacular moment designed to impress.
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36, NIV)
Does that make you catch your breath, give you a solid foundation to trust Him, to love Him, to receive His provisions for you?
Immature Christians tend to make God too small, to miss the depth of His love, and to make their religion, their faith, into things done in the hope of somehow earning His favor. IF we accept what our Father reveals about Himself in the Word, we turn that upside down.
We discover the amazing truth of the Gospel of Grace in Christ and learn to give him ourselves in love. Actually loving God is more difficult than giving Him an hour on Sunday or putting some money in the offering. Loving God involves the whole of our lives, the pursuit of the Holy One. Let’s not make the mistake of thinking we can buy His love. Let’s not allow ourselves to enter the delusion that we have done something for Him that will make Him reciprocate. Instead, let’s love extravagantly. That is what He desires from us.
Here’s a word from the Word. May the Truth lift the weight of trying to ‘prove your love’ through religion. Believe, receive and pray for the release the joy of the Spirit in you.
“This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:10, NLT)
“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world. Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us.” (1 John 4:16-18, NLT)
Go Tell It On The Mountain
(Zac Williams will start your day right! Enjoy!)
Go tell it on the mountain
Over the hills and ev’rywhere
Go tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born
The shepherds feared and trembled
When lo above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed the Savior’s birth
Down in a lowly manger
The humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation
That blessed Christmas morn
When I was a seeker
I sought both night and day
I asked the LORD to help me
He showed me the way
He made me a watchman
Upon the city wall
And if I am a Christian
I am the least of all
John W. Work Jr. © Words: Public Domain