Many years ago, back when we still called New Zealand home, we owned a dog called Israel. He was incredibly loving to everyone in our immediate family. He was loyal, kind and totally predictable in his affection. But this gentle, loving creature was also fiercely protective if he felt anyone was a threat to any of us.
But what made him that way?
It was because Israel was lavishly loved by Margaret, our three kids and I from the moment he arrived into our family. His love for us was simply his spontaneous response to us unconditionally loving him in the first place.
Friends, I am totally convinced that the most empowering truth that compels us to love our Father is the revelation of just how much He has first loved us.
In John 13:34, Jesus tells that we are to love “as I have loved you”!
Both Peter and John loved Jesus … and they both failed Him as they fled away in the garden. But they processed their failures in two very different ways: Peter goes into isolation burdened by guilt and condemnation, while John is found faithfully standing by the cross in Jesus’ greatest hour of need.
One avoids Jesus and the other bravely comes into His presence. What was the difference?
I believe that Peter’s acceptance was based on his love for Jesus - “I will never betray you”, while John’s acceptance was based on Jesus’ love for him - “the disciple that Jesus loved”.
The basis of Peter’s acceptance was conditional upon his performance for Jesus, whereas John’s acceptance was completely unconditional as he knew that Jesus did and would never stop loving him.
The greatest need in the church today is not more prayer, more holiness, or even more commitment. Don’t get me wrong – I believe passionately in these things. But the greatest need is a greater revelation of Father’s indescribable love for us. Desired Christian lifestyle should be the fruit of a bubbling up of gratitude, praise and wonder at being so amazingly loved!
Friends, there are no words in the English language to describe the reality of Father’s love for you.
All He wants from you now is for you to acknowledge that love, and respond to it in like-kind. A daily outpouring of your gratitude and affection will ensure that your lifestyle, in due course, will automatically change.
Your greatest priority? Pursue intimacy with Father’s heart!
Loving Him boldly,