Not ‘Almost Love’ but… ‘Real Love’
Recently, I watched a play called ‘Almost, Maine’… not constructed as a single major plot line in the manner of a traditional play, but rather constructed as a series of 8 separate vignettes… the purpose of which was to illustrate the hazards that we encounter while pursuing love. In the Prologue, a man and a woman tell each other that they love each other, but through the man’s almost incredulous stupidity and ‘worldly wisdom’ in an attempt to prove to the woman that they weren’t really as close to each other as the “I love you” declarations might have indicated, he fumbles his explanation of the technicalities involved in their love so badly that the woman physically moves away from him and, by the end of Prologue, leaves him sitting all alone, to wonder what happened. The remaining vignettes focus on the trickiness of love, how one must always watch one’s step in doing what one needs to do in order to successfully pursue love, and the subtle (and not so subtle dynamics (ever-changing, of course) of hesitations, miscues, mistakes, miss-thoughts, and just plain dumb luck (or hurried epiphanies) in finally seizing an opportunity for love and making the most of it.
Seriously… is this how we must pursue love? It seems random and chaotic, and even when love is pursued successfully, it doesn’t seem as though the prize is worth the effort… if, by random chance, two people do “find” love, what is to say that, also by random chance, love will not be lost as quickly as it was found?
Let’s take a look at love that we don’t have to pursue through a minefield of hazards… because it is a love that came looking for us.
The type of love that looks for us is the type of love that God has for us, and it is described like this:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
This is a love that never quits! Who among us would, like God, without any hesitation, willingly give a beloved son to an unimaginably horrific death for the sake of sinners who almost constantly give offense to God? Not any of us… because we do not have the type of love that would allow such a sacrifice to be made.
God’s love is steadfast:
You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit. (Job 10:12)
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33:18-22)
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)
God’s love is unfailing:
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:6)
God’s love is better than life:
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalm 63:3-4)
God’s love never lessens:
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)
God loves us directly and explicitly:
“I have loved you,” says the Lord. (Malachi 1:2)
We are covered with the love of God… so much so that God did that before the world that we live in was ever created (italic emphases mine):
Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. Psalm 16:5)
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (Ephesians 1:4-6)
This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, (Isaiah 44:24)
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4)
We are greatly loved by God, we have been created for His purposes, and we have great worth in His eyes:
This is what God the Lord says – he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: (Isaiah 42:5)
But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth – everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:6-7)
It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. (Isaiah 45:12)
For this is what the Lord says – he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited – he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:18)
I will not accuse forever, nor will I always be angry, for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me – the breath of man that I have created. (Isaiah 57:16)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17)
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (James 1:18)
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:11)
Isn’t God’s love… a perfect love… what we all ache for? There are no doubts with God, there is no second-guessing with God, and once you belong to God, you are His forever: no less a One than Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God, declared this boldly (italic emphases mine):
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. (John 10:27-29)
However, there is a slight “catch”… isn’t there always? It is not enough to intellectually assent that there is a God, and that He has a Son Jesus Christ who died to pay the penalty for your sins. One must have a personal relationship with God, and walk in the path that Jesus Christ walked; that is, in obedience to His commands and His Word. To have a personal relationship with God is to know Him intimately as your Father, to pray to Him, to talk to Him, to listen to Him, to depend upon Him for all your needs, and to love Him because He first loved you, giving thanks to Him always in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ for the gift of Christ’s blood that has covered you with Christ’s righteousness, loving all whom He has created, and thanking Him for every blessing He has bestowed upon you.
The Apostle John says it best… what God is and what we should do… in Holy Scripture:
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (1 John 1:5-10)
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 2:3-6)
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:19-21)
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:2-5)
This is the one who came by water and blood – Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:6-12)
I have said in other posts that God’s Word is truth. It has never been proven wrong, even once, in its prophecies; when you add to this faultless track record the fact that Jesus Christ, God’s Only Son, was raised from the dead (witnessed after His resurrection by every one of His Apostles, and hundreds of others besides, for the forty days preceding His ascension into heaven), you not only understand that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, but also that there is no other way to God except through Him:
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:5-6)
Why no other way to God except through Jesus Christ?
Because God gave proof of that to all people by raising His Son from the dead.
You can embrace God and accept His gift of His Only Son Jesus Christ… and know what REAL LOVE is… or you can push God away and deny His gift of His Only Son Jesus Christ… and know what ETERNAL REGRET is.
You will either spend an eternity in the presence of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, as the precious and greatly loved child of the KING of kings and the LORD of lords, or you will spend an eternity in the lake of fire. Hell was meant for the evil one and for his fallen angels… not for you. If you are condemned to spend eternity in the lake of fire, understand that you will have made the choice by your willful rejection of God and His free gift of grace and salvation through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ during your life on earth.
Reject God… indulge your will to please yourself… and die. Choose God… surrender your will to know real love… and live.