Monday, February 6, 2012

The Character of God: Love

In order to worship God you're going to need the desire to know more about Him. That's part of worship.

If you're a devoted fan of a certain sports team, you're going to know the star quarterback's name, as well as the key receivers, and how they're doing in the playoffs. If you don't watch their games, don't know any of the players, and really don't pay any attention to news about a certain team, there's no way you could be called a devoted fan.

Now, worship is more than just being a devoted fan, but all of those things are included. You need to be aware of what God is doing, praise Him excitedly for what He's done, and get to know everything you can about Him!

I'm going to pull out a few of His attributes in the next few posts, today we're going to focus on one in particular: Love.

1st John says "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love."

So this concept of knowing God is directly connected with this idea of love. So knowing more about love means we know more about God. 1st Corinthians 13 is an awesome description of love and begins, "Love is patient, love is kind." If God is love, and 1st John says that love is of God, God is love, and anyone who loves knows God, we should be able to find out the attributes of God through this passage.

God is patient and kind. God is patient even though we constantly fall. Romans 2:4 says that the kindness of God leads men to repentance. It's God's nature and character to be patient and kind with us. And with the consequences that we rightly deserve, His unending, patient, forgiving love is something that is worth every bit of praise that we have.

God does not envy or boast. God is not arrogant or rude. Just think of all the times when you've wrongly given your affections to something besides God. Just think of all of the times that you've chosen to put your trust in yourself instead of in God's strength. He's the God of all the universe who is the only one who has the right to get arrogant or rude about us not relying on Him, and yet he waits for us to come home, like the father of the prodigal son. When we do come home, we're not greeted with "I told you so" or "you deserve this consequence." He welcomes us home with a feast, a ring, and a robe.

God does not insist on its own way. This can be misunderstood. Jesus says He is the only way to the Father, and a lot of people view this as unloving. The real truth is that love doesn't force itself upon you. God isn't forcing you to live with Him. He gives you a choice out of love.

God is not irritable or resentful. An mental image of a God who is unapproachable and spiteful is completely inaccurate. God is full of forgiveness, and is ready to cover every single sin with the blood of Christ, no matter how big, dark, recent, secret or public it is.

God does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. God's heart is not cold towards those that are sinning, but He is deeply saddened by the sin. He doesn't get tired of saving people because He created each person individually as His own children.

God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. God never fails. God isn't going to stop chasing after you. He's never going to stop showing His love to you. He's always going to be hoping that you're going to make the right decision, not expecting you to fail.

So in your personal devotion explore the truth that God is love.

Tip #1: Study. Look up "love" in your concordance and see what you can find out about God through what the Bible says. Look for ways Jesus showed love, or expressions of love that God uses.

Tip #2: Ask. In your secret place prayers, ask God to show you more of what His love looks like. Ask Him to point your eyes in the direction of His expressions of love.

Tip #3: Thank. Realize that God's love has never left and refuse to take that for granted. Thank Him for it! Spend some time singing and speaking your thanks to Him for His love. Thank Him for the ways He expresses His love. Love Him back for it. He who has been forgiven much loves much!

Tip #4: Worship. Spend some time worshiping God as One who loves. Don't make it just about the ways He's expressed it to you, worship Him because it's who He is. He's worthy of worship because He is love.

Tip #5: Emulate. The more you love, the more you'll understand about God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Work on loving other people to get to know God more! Figure out what God's love looks like and share it with other people!

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