Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Hope of Love

The Heart of All Things: Part 4

Love is what makes life worth living. When we reflect on our lives we realize that it is the time spent loving when we have felt most alive. Holidays with the family, helping the neighbor with some yard work, comforting a friend who is grieving, teaching a child a new skill, or serving someone who is in need. Life and love are connected. If we are going to live the life that God created us to live, then we need to love. Not just feel love or talk about love, but doing those things that come from love. When we love we know that we are alive, when we love we improve the life of someone else, and when we love we can know that God is on our side. That is what the third element of love is about.

3. The third element of love we need to know is the hope of love.
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in the presence of God. 22 Whatever we request we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The person who keeps his commandments abides in God, and God abides in him. This is how we can be sure that he remains in us: he has given us his Spirit. (1 John 3:21-24; ISV)

Since we do not stand in condemnation of our hearts we can have confidence before God. Why can we have confidence before God? Because we have committed ourselves to doing His will. This is very important to remember as look at verse 22. With out this context we can take verse 22 and claim a promise from God that God never promised.

John promises that when we are committed to God’s will that we can be confident that when we ask something of God that He will do it. That is a wonderful promise. It is not the promise that God will be our personal genie who is willing to grant our every wish, but it is the promise that God will give us those things that will help us accomplish His will. In other words God will help us love people. He will not necessarily provide the warm fuzzy feeling of love, but He will provide us with the resources necessary to properly show compassion for people.

What is the command that God has given us to obey? The first part of the command is to believe in Jesus. Why is this important? If we don’t believe is Jesus then we can spend all our time trying to improve people’s physical lives, but do nothing for their spiritual lives. Remember Jesus’ mission is centered on freeing people from their sins. It does very little good to help people with their physical needs if we don’t address their spiritual needs.

The second part of the command is that we are to love people. In other words we are to continue with the mission of Jesus in destroying the devil’s work. We do this, ultimately, by telling people the Good News about God’s love and the forgiveness of sins found in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Though it also includes helping them with their everyday needs, because this provides evidence that the Good News that we bring is the truth.

The promise we find in this passage is that when we obey God’s commands then we know that we live in Jesus. Remember this is important because it is through Jesus that we are given life, and it is by staying connected to Jesus that our life is sustained. There is another piece of evidence that we are connected to Jesus in the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. The Holy Spirit moves us towards compassion; He helps us understand the truth of God’s Word; and shows us the opportunities God has given us to serve other people.

What is the hope of love? The hope of love is that we are connected to Jesus.

  • Point to Ponder: When we obey God’s commands the we know that we live in Jesus
  • Passage to Remember: 1 John 3:21-24
  • Question to Consider: Are you confident that God is with as you do His will?

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