I was speaking to a single mother recently who really wants to get married. I asked her, what sort of man are you looking for? She said, "Pastor, I want to marry a godly man who will love my children and look after them". A good answer because it would be strange if this godly woman said, she simply wants a man who loves her and does not care whether he loves her children! We all know that love for the mother means loving her two children as well.
Sadly, when it comes to God we seem to often forget that true love for God is proven by how much we love His children. The apostle John makes this very clear in his first letter : “If anyone says, “I love God”, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:20-21)
We have been hearing a lot of “Red Lines” in the ongoing UK Brexit negotiations. Things that the Prime Minister Theresa May is allegedly not willing to accept. For example, we have been told that she is not willing for the European Court of Justice of Justice to have any jurisdiction over UK laws. We might say that Verse 21 is a redline for God. God is saying this is a line you can’t cross: “if you truly love me, love my children as well or we are not together”.
But it is more than a red line! When we become children of God, God give us a new nature free from the bondage of self-love. We have a new nature that enables to love God and His family as God always intended - as a 2-for-1 package. Sadly, many of us claim to have a relationship with God, and yet we do not appear to have deep and genuine love for God’s children!
When we love our human family, we desire to be with them physically, to spend time together. You cannot adopt an online child! Do you have a deep yearning to be physically with God’s children? Do you experience any withdraw symptoms when not in your local fellowship on Sunday morning or you miss the midweek meeting?
When we love our human family, we are there with them through thick and thin, hospital visits, job losses and marital struggles. I used to watch Eastenders some years back when it was dominated by the Mitchell Brothers. What set apart the Mitchell family was their commitment to one another no matter what! Do you look for opportunities to visit the elderly, sick or those who are feeling low in the fellowship? The church has many people who are going through many challenges. Do you know who they are? Why not?
When we love our human family, we invest in them and build them up! So it worth asking, who in the life of your local church are you currently investing in spiritually? Who are you pouring your love to build and strength in Jesus?
No one is a love graduate. It is not about perfection. What John is getting at is about the basic disposition of our hearts. What is the state of your heart. Are you committed to caring for God’s children or not?
If the answer is no then you have no evidence of love and are therefore are not a true child of God. If that is you your situation, what you need to do is to realise you are headed in the wrong direction. You need to change direction and go in the opposite by coming to Jesus, confess your sins and handover control of your life to Him.
Some of you do have some evidence of loving children of God, and it even pains you when you fail to love others or spend more time with God’s people! You want to grow in loving God, you want to be with his children, and sometimes feel frustrated when the pressures of life stop you!
Listen, God knows your heart. He has good news for you which is written just before the verse we read earlier: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Recognising the truth of this verse is the first step for you to take. You need to rest rest in the love of God by actively meditating on the amazing love of God that has brought to you through the cross of Jesus.
This means preaching the good news of Jesus to yourself. Remember his sacrifice for the wicked, rebellious—for people like you. Spend time to learn, relearn, and remembering the love and grace of Jesus in the Bible. As you do that, your love of self will become a distant memory. Instead you will become outside who you are inside – a lover of God and others. You will start showing tangible evidence of love.
Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2017
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