REAL DEAL LOVE
“This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4: 9-10
What is it?
How do we find it?
How do we hold onto it?
Our culture is absolutely obsessed with the search for love. Just look at the lyrics of today’s chart-topping songs – they’re always about finding or losing love. And the rumor is if you find that real love music sings of and movies depict – then you’ll be happy. Love, romantic love = happiness.
But what if there was a love greater than one based solely on emotions, attraction, and even lust?
What if there was a love more powerful and more enduring? A love not based on circumstances or feelings, but based on commitment and certainty.
There is – it’s called God’s love. And it is very real.
Jesus makes it very clear that this real love is available to us. But it’s unlike anything we’ll find in the movies, in another person, or even in the most heart-wrenching love song on the radio – because God’s love never fades or changes. It never walks out or grows cold. God’s love is the real deal.
When we experience this kind of love, it changes us. God’s love even changes how we love others. Do you know that person at work, school, or in your family that you can’t stand? When we know the assurance of God’s love for us, God gives us a love powerful enough to love others, even those we don’t like. And that kind of love is worth finding.
Real love is demonstrated through what is given for the sake of the ones we love.
This is why we cling to the cross. The cross reveals how loved we truly are. It is the ultimate expression of God’s love. He took on our sin and shame, humbling Himself to the lowest place imaginable so that we could see the height, the breadth, and the depth of his love. Greater love has no one than this: He lay down his life for that which he loves.
This love is so incredible and so amazing that we struggle to understand or even believe it.
We know the depth of our sin. We know the intensity of our struggle. We know how easily and how quickly we wander away. We know how often we question God’s love for us. Yet, when we remember our sin, the cross reminds us what God has done for us.
Oh, the amazing grace and unending love we see at the cross! The more we cling to the cross of Christ, the more willing we become to take up our cross and follow Jesus.
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’” Matthew 16:24-25
This is what real love looks like:
A willingness to lay down our life to follow Jesus. A willingness to slay anything in my life that is preventing me from following Jesus and loving others.
Just like Jesus loved me by going to the cross, and in response to the love of God, I lay down my life to find true life in the gift of Jesus Christ. I can only give up whatever hinders me because of his great love for me.
How can you imitate Christ this week? For whom are you willing to lay down your life and cling to the cross?
Because this, my friends, is real love.