Romans 8:35 – 39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In my moment of weakness, there I was calling out to the Lord to set my life in order, to strengthen the weak area(s) of my life that I may function perfectly in peace. His response, “accept the love of God”. I was puzzled by this, but He kept saying it, “accept the love of God”. I began to ask myself, how does one accept the love of God? It is easy for us to proclaim the love of God as in John 3:16, even looking at the things he has done in our lives. We then realise that truly God has and still loves us. To come to a space now when I am told to accept His love, became a puzzle for me.
This call took me to thinking of the song by GUC – Obinigwe, with the lyrics, “I had no essence, I had no meaning, but you came through for me. What did I do to deserve this kind of love?” This immediately became a question I asked myself, what did I do to deserve such love?
John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My Name He may give you.
I didn’t choose JESUS, He came to me whilst I was still a wanderer in the world, and in my own opinion living life to the fullest. Yet I was lost and broken carrying all sorts of wounds. Looking for all sorts of ways to cover these wounds, ways that only made matters worse for me. I had no essence, no meaning at all, but just living to see another day. From this space, He came and called me by name, out of the world into Himself. Filthy as I was, He said ‘come!’, in my brokenness seeking love in all the wrong places, He said ‘come!’. It took me heeding this call for my life to fall into all sorts of broken pieces, pieces that turned into a mess. But in the middle of that mess was JESUS. Whilst still in this thought and moment of gratefulness to the hand of God in my life, I came to realise why at this point the Lord is calling me to accept His love.
Imagine a child that was born and given to an orphanage for another to raise. This orphanage is only able to cater for children to a certain age and when that age is reached, the child is sent to either a group home or foster care. When they are in this kind of care, they are abused; ill-treated; tossed to and fro even molested in some cases. Eventually this child ends up in the streets to learn to fend for themselves. At this point, they even wonder why they exist in this life seeing that no one wants them. They desire to be loved and cared for, but that seems like something in the most distant and not so possible future. They even grow to just believing that survival is the meaning of life. Then someone from nowhere appears to them and says, ‘come!’. The child follows this savior to their house. The savior gives them shelter, food, clothes, a safe environment and cleans them up. He continues to shower this child with love and care they have never imagined. However, with all this, the child struggles to believe that this is real. Because of that disbelief, they are still waiting for a moment when this savior will chuck them out of their house, ill-treat them or subject them into an unfavorable condition. Because of this, they struggle to accept the love of this savior. As a result, even though he means well and only wants to help, his love is not accepted. I was then reminded of a movie called Annie. A girl with a foster care background and not so pleasant. She was adopted by a mayor who of cause at first did it to boost his campaign, but eventually fell in love with the girl. He then opted to officially adopt her. However, in all that which he was doing for her, she was still hanging on to the idea of her biological parents coming to redeem her. This is what caused me to understand the call of JESUS, “accept the love of God.”.
You see, when you have not accepted the love, the one who loves can shower you with all the gifts, be there for you whenever you need them and do all things for you. This is what a man who loves a girl or woman does. He pursues her, does all sorts of beautiful things for her and is forever present to attend to her call. However, until that girl or woman accepts his love and enter into a relationship with him, there is no relationship. Because there is no relationship, he is limited in his provision for her, he is limited in expressing his love for her. Once she accepts his love, she receives the fullness of the man.
Ephesians 3:16 – 19 I ask that out of the riches of His Glory He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Then you, being rooted and grounded in love, will have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
God’s love and His glory are interwoven. He cannot release His glory where His love has not been received. Yes, He can release grace, but not His glory. To receive His glory, we must accept His love. To accept His love, is to have Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith. Then we become grounded and rooted in love. As such, we can comprehend its magnitude as like the other saints. Faith therefore, is the key to accepting the love of God. That is why scripture tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for. It is the feeling or emotion formed into substance from the thoughts of the conscious mind and dwells in the face of our subconscious. Which then tells us that, before we can have this faith we have to think certain thoughts of hope. These thoughts of hope speak to what we believe about God, about Christ. That in whatever we are going through, we believe that God through the promises of His word, will come through for us, for He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. The more we think these thoughts, the more they form into substance and this substance is what we call faith. However, this faith without action, is dead. To activate it, God must breath to it the breath of life, which is the spirit of the word of God, Wisdom. The life is the love of God in His word and the light of man. That is why JESUS says in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” That is why in the world, life and love are associated with the heart.
Once God has breathed life into one’s faith, then the heart of man has been turned towards God and His love dwells in Him. The greatest love of God is His Son, and therefore, it is the Spirit of His Son that He sends to dwell in us as life, light and [His testimony of] love. The Spirit of His Son is also the glory of God that activates our faith, enabling us to function in our vocations. This glory testifies that we are His sons and that He loves us. But none of this is possible without faith. JESUS received this glory on Mount of Transfiguration in the presence of Peter, John and James as the witnesses. This is the love we must accept in order to experience the fullness of God.
It is therefore, important that we examine ourselves as to what could be the reason we fail to accept the love of God. As we have already mentioned above that for a child with a bad past, it is wounds incurred. Which means that in our case it is sin, for the glory of God comes as fire for He is a Consuming Fire. Where there is righteousness, the fire becomes light. Where there is sin, the fire consumes. When JESUS presented Himself unto God on the altar, the fire became Light. Which would mean that this is the formula we also ought to follow to receive the love of God, to present ourselves unto God on the altar. For the Apostles, the altar was the upper room where the glory of God came as the tongues of fire.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3