Today’s AMI QT blog, written by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S.F., was originally posted on March 18, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
1 John 3:16-18 (ESV)
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Unlike God, everyone is born with a deficiency of love. And that is why we are all driven in one way or another to fulfill our desire to be loved. Some of us seek that love in our families, while others look for it in friendships, and for many, they search for it in their marriages. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that there is a very dark side to love that arises out of our unmet needs. We see it in children who are willing to manipulate their parents to get what they want; we find it in friends who were once close but grow distant; and sadly, people leave their marriages hoping that someone else can fulfill that longing for love. The irony of the human condition is that our unquenchable need for love is the very thing that keeps us from truly loving others. For instance, a starving person will only share begrudgingly, thinking that his supply is very short.
But this is where the Gospel provides a solution to this human predicament. The apostle John writes that this is love: that Christ laid down his life for us. God, having nothing to gain, gave everything that He had to creatures who could give nothing in exchange. Through the sacrifice of his Son, God forever proved that his love has no limit and is immeasurably pure. And so receiving Christ and beginning the Christian life is as simple as opening your heart to this love that is selfless in its motive, sacrificial in its ability to cover sin, and completely sufficient to satisfy the longings of our hearts.
In addition to having eternal life, a relationship with Christ transforms our hearts to love just as God has loved us because through Christ, our hearts can finally be set free to love. God’s love should enrich every relationship that we have to enjoy in this life. Try it today; you won’t regret it.
Prayer: Father, You are the very definition of love: Help us to receive Your love into our lives. May we come to realize that only You can fulfill our deepest desire to be known and to be loved. Reveal to our minds and hearts the incredible depth, width, and height of Your unending love. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 9
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 5:43-48: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Questions to Consider
- Why does Jesus place before us this difficult command to love our enemies?
- How does loving our enemy reflect our relationship with God?
- What does it mean to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect?
- Are you growing in godliness?
- One of the distinguishing marks of a genuine Christian is the way he or she loves. If we only love just as the world loves, we do God a great disservice because we misrepresent the nature of who He is and how He loves.
- Loving our enemy and those who are unlovable is an indication that we are growing in our sonship with God. In other words, we are learning what it means to be children of God, because we are learning to love as our Father loves.
- In this context, perfection does not mean moral purity, but rather becoming whole and mature. It takes great maturity to love without limit, but it is something that can be pursued and attained in this life.
- Personal response
Was there an opportunity for you to love someone who irritated, frustrated, or bothered you? Review your day and write about situations where you could have exercised more love and grace.