Tuesday, December 6, 2011

God is Love Means God Loves You

God is Worthy by His Love
If the #1 thing God wanted was worship He would have only created angels to sing to Him. If the #1 thing God wanted was obedience and servanthood He would have only created robots. God foremost wants relationship. He wants to show His love to us and share His love with us.

The purpose of life isn't to glorify God. It is to experience God's love. Because of His love we understand God and automatically give Him glory, honor, and praise. God's love is what makes Him worthy of those things. Many hint that just because He is God, the creator, that he is worthy. God is not worthy if He is not perfectly loving. His love makes Him worthy and His love makes Him holy. If God had not love He would be nothing.

God is Not Self-Seeking
1 Corinthians 13 says, "Love is not self-seeking." Is God love?

The Father glorified the Son because the Father loves the Son. The Son glorified the Father because the Son loves the Father. God has such great love that He wants to lavish it upon us all.

God is more concerned with giving love than He is with getting worship. Why would we love if He didn't first love us? Why would we worship Him if He wasn't good? Because we are supposed to? Are we supposed to be better than God? How are we supposed to love if He Himself is not loving first? Think of the many times Jesus shows love without ever saying "Now bow down and worship me! Praise me!" He healed hundreds of people from compassion not an insecure need to be worshiped.

When God said, "I'm a jealous God. You shall have no other God's before me." God isn't insecurely saying "You must worship me." He is saying, "Everything else out there is going to own you. I want to give you life and I want to give you peace. Those are only found in real relationship with me." His jealousy isn't insecurity on His part. He is jealous for us, out of His love, for our benefit and protection.

What Worship Is
Worship is our love responding to God's love. What is the natural response to someone saying, "I love you," it is to say "I love you too." That is worship, us saying "I love you too God."

Worship is seeing how valuable God is by seeing how loving He is and knowing that He is the only source of good. Worship is clear seeing. When I see God for who He is the natural response is "Wow! Amazing! You are Awesome God!" Worship is good for us because recognizing who God is will bring love and liberty into our lives.

God accepts worship not because He is an egomaniac but because His love and goodness are so great He knows that He is the best thing for us. A wise and loving parent knows what is best for their children. God is as wise and loving as someone gets! Knowing and trusting Him to receive His love is what is best for us. True worship isn't the picture of a tyrant saying "Bow down to me lowly beings!" It is the picture of a child saying, "Thank you for loving me daddy."

We Are Significant by His Son
The beauty of salvation offered through Jesus Christ is that God makes it known how incredibly significant people are to Him. Because of God's great value placed on mankind Jesus laid down His life for us all.

The idea that man is insignificant devalues the cross, it devalues God's love for us, thus it devalues God Himself. The lower you make man the lower you make God because the greatness of God is His love. In His own words, if God has not love He is nothing. But God is love. The more devalued or insignificant we find ourselves the less we understand God's great love for us. If you want to know how significant you are look at the price Jesus paid for you.

God shares His glory with us. The Father loves us just as much as He loves the Son (John 17:20-23). Jesus loves us just as much as the Father has loved Him (John 15:9). Did Jesus say or even hint that people are insignificant to Him?

"God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever trusts in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Jesus died for the whole world (1 John 2:1-2).

God loves everyone. Whether you want them to be loved or think they deserve His love doesn't matter. God does have a special love for those who trust Him because trust allows them to experience His love. If you ever question as to whether you are worthy of love or anything else say to yourself, "Is God worthy? He has given me His righteousness. I am in Christ and Christ is in me." You are worthy of love because God has deemed you so. You are worthy of love because God is so great at loving. It is the lover that determines the value of the one loved. You cannot stop God from loving you!

As a Christian God makes me more significant, almost as significant as His Son (we are loved as he is loved and co-heris with Him) so am I to focus on how insignificant I am compared to God or how greatly He loves me and has honored me? God's goal isn't to make us happy moment to moment but he does want our joy to be full. Life isn't all about me as an individual but in no way imaginable does the greatness of God make a person less significant.

"God raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6).
Devaluing myself does not bring praise to God. Since He raised me up why should I ever down or devalue myself as His dearly loved child? Devaluing myself actually ignores the miracle of who He has made me to be in Christ. Recognizing how He has given me significance is me focusing on the greatness of God. Why does God deserve praise? Because He is love.

So to say "It's all about God and not about me," or "It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man," actually takes away from our perception of God's greatness! God's greatness includes the significance He puts on mankind! Part of why God is so great is because He values mankind so dearly. May I never devalue myself as His child. May I never devalue His other children or anyone.

Saying "It's all about God and not about me," says "God does not care about me as a person, He doesn't want a relationship with me, He just wants me to shut up and serve Him like a robot and worship Him like the angels do." We are in Christ! To say "It's all about God and not about me," means I see myself outside of Christ! What a sad, Godless way to see ourselves. God made it about me to show His love for me. We could, however, rightly say, "It is not about us being in control" or "us getting everything we want." God isn't going to serve my every whim but He is going to give me what is best for me when I trust Him. Even when I don't trust Him He will still work everything to my good.

God first loved us. He is the instigator. Who did He love? Us. It is all about God's relationship WITH US! You could rightly say, "It is all about what God has done." Who did He do it for? He did it for us!

If we have a deep relationship with Father we are going to have deep security. We are going to be secure and feel significant to the degree that we have that relationship with Him. When you feel insecure and insignificant you will find anything to hang on to including rules, rituals, traditions, and shame (the real false humility). God wants to draw us into a loving intimacy with Him that supersedes and overcomes everything else. What a privileged, simple, and wonderful thing!

Not Servants but Friends.
Our relationship with God isn't servanthood, it isn't even just the status of being His child. Our relationship with God is friendship.

Jesus Himself began this friendship, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). "You are no longer a servant, but God’s child" (Galatians 4:7). Jesus said in John 15:15, "No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing. I instead call you my friends."

A servant, or slave, serves out of obligation. A friend serves out of love. A friend is free. This is why all of the New Testament writers that acknowledged themselves as the authors of their writings called themselves bond-slaves or bond-servants of God. A bond-servant is someone who is set free but chooses to serve the one who set him free. A bond-servant is someone who has been loved so greatly as a friend that they serve their friend out of that love and friendship. We find our significance not by serving God but by being His friend.

We Are Holy Because He is Holy
Jesus did far more on the cross than simply take away our sins. The Christian is Holy and perfect in God's eyes & God's eyes are the correct eyes, He isn't going to deceive Himself or you.

The word "saint" which we are called dozens of times in scripture, means "holy one." 2 Thessalonians 1:10 tells us that "God's holy people (His saints)" are all those who have trusted Him. That means every single Christian is holy. "We are holy and dearly loved" (Colossians 3:12). "God's temple is holy, and we are His temple" (1 Corinthians 3:17, 6:19-20). "We are a holy nation" (1 Peter 2:9).
"Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15)
“You shall be holy, for I am holy.” is a scripture from before the cross. Now the prophecy of "you shall be holy.." is "you are holy, for I am holy." "Be holy" is not a command but a reinforcing statement of truth. Like God telling you to "Be yourself." It does say to "be holy in all your behavior" because you, as a Christian, are holy in Christ. So since you are holy behave holy.

The Importance of Identity
Christians can still behave destructively and hurt others but their behavior doesn't determine their identity. Our identity in God does not come from our behavior but by our birth. We don't have to strive to be holy, we use the holiness that God has already given us to be holy in our behavior. We don't live to gain, we live to give. God has given us His infinite life to live by. "We already have everything we need for life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3). A Christian lives out of an abundance.

When your identity is misplaced so is your relationship. Even in the midst of your failure know that your actions do not define you, Jesus defines who you are. The way that we live is to be an outflow of what we know about our identity in Christ. We are one with Christ. We are in Christ and He is in us. Now we simply have to act like it, walk in it, participate in reality. We have Him in us, let Him live His life.

Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us to clean up our flesh so we can walk in the spirit. Instead, it says, 'Walk in the spirit, then you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh' (Galatians 5:16). The reason the bible says that is because sins were taken away at the cross forever and God doesn't deal with us on the basis of sin, He deals with us on the basis of our righteousness, our identity in him. So we can walk in the spirit. It's the Spirit and the truth, and knowing our true identity in Jesus, in which we experience victory.

God says in Hosea 4:6: "My people are destroyed for lack of Knowledge." When we lack knowledge of who we are in Christ and how much we are loved, we don't experience the life Jesus came to give us. The devil challenges our identity just as He did Jesus' identity. "If you are the Son of God then do..." But when we realize that Jesus came to destroy sin's power in our lives, we will no longer allow the enemy to deceive us into believing that we are not who God says we are. Sin has lost its power to condemn us or cause shame in our hearts because we have been made righteous in Christ. Our Heavenly Father sees us as very good and without fault because of Jesus! What more could He do for us to prove His great love?

God's primary interest isn't in what we do for Him or even what we do with Him. It is in who we are. We are the beloved bride in the Song of Solomon. He knows ever hair on our head not because He is all knowing but because He has paid loving attention to us. God is love means God loves You.

By one offering He has perfected for all time those who are made holy (Hebrews 10:14).

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