Saturday, January 15, 2011

"To Be Loved... To Love"

    "I will love Thee, o Lord my strength" (Psalm 18:1).
    David's declaration of both devotion and faith provides one of the brightest and most succinct rays of light in all of the Bible.
     The Psalmist freely determines to love God, as he must if love is to be genuine and meaningful to both parties.  However, he is well aware that his Lord must provide enabling for his determination.  David must "will" to love. God must be His "strength" to love. 
     "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).
     Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ establishes in far greater measure than David knew the possibility of relationship with God that is both Divinely enabled and freely determined.  The indwelling Holy Spirit infuses our spirits with the love of God, creating vast potential for affectionate and committed devotion to our Heavenly Father.  It is not inevitable, however, that we will love Him in personal and practical expression.  We must respond to God's working in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).  The presence of the Spirit of Christ in us does not annihilate us.  It actualizes us.  Our humanity springs to life in the risen life of Christ, and as He loves His Father, so can we love His Father, and our Father.  Genuine, consistent and increasing love for God and others becomes dynamically possible as the command to love becomes known as Christ-enabled privilege, as well as Biblically-mandated responsibility.
     "These words spake Jesus... I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:1; 26).
    God made us to be loved, and then to love in response.  "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).  The order must never be reversed in our hearts and minds.  Indeed, had David's declaration been specifically repeated in the New Testament, we might read, "Lord, You are my strength, Your love is shed abroad in my heart.  Thereby will I love Thee!"  No coercion, but great enabling comprises the sublime Divine/human relationship wherein both parties freely choose to devote themselves to blessing the hearts of their loved one.  We were made for this, and if we have believed, we were redeemed to be increasingly overwhelmed by our Lord's "great love" for us, and by our freedom in and through Christ to greatly love Him in response (Ephesians 2:4).
"And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant 
with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."
(I Timothy 1:14)

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