WEEK SIX, DAY FOUR, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK SIX THEME: LOVE
DAY FOUR THEME: GOD LOVES ME?
SCRIPTURE: JOHN 3:16- 17 (CEB)
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD – THANKS BE TO GOD!
SOAKING IT IN: These scriptures are not for special and perfect people, they are for EVERYONE! God did not differentiate who He sent His Son for, He sent His Son for EVERYONE! God does not draw boundaries or separate people into categories. Every person – EVERY person – has the same opportunity and privilege to God’s love as I do. If it is for me, then it is for EVERYONE!
In our “fallen” state, we set ourselves apart from one another based on differences and likes and dislikes, etc. We assume, in our elevated state as Christian, that we understand God’s love to be for us, because somehow we marvelously were privileged to see the light and are blessed and favored over “those” other poor souls who just need to get their act together so that they too could see the light and become blessed. When they do, they then will be just like “us” and therefore they will be easy to love and we will see everything identically the same and the world will be a better place.
That is all illusion and fake. We are all created equal in God’s sight and we all bear his likeness whether or not we recognize Him as our Father or not. God, the perfect parent, does not throw any of us out as impossible but holds out eternally, just as he did for the prodigal, all while remaining constant with the elder brother who spiritually was just as lost as the prodigal though sharing the same space.
It is possible to call God our Father out of tradition or even hope and never align ourselves with Him for the Kingdom’s sake. When each of our children were born, we held out the same hope and joy and desires for them individually. Nonetheless, we knew that each would come to their point of demarkation when they would need to choose their path and they would have days of discouragement and fear and experience lostness on their way to finding their true path. There is only so much earthly parents can do for their children in directing their steps. Unconditional love and constant prayer are the only Kingdom tools that parents have to offer their adult children endlessly through their days regardless of ages or stages.
Our perfect parent, God our Holy Father, multiplies into infinity what we as earthly parents feel and do. He never gives up or gives in. This kind of love is unimagineable. There are many times that we put conditions on our love for our children … “as long as…” But God keeps holding out hope for all of his children without strings attached. As God’s healthly and loved children, we continue to grow in grace. As we continue to grow in grace, we are more and more able to love as God does – without boundaries or distinctions. We see EACH AND EVERY PERSON as a child of God also and we use each opportunity together as Kingdom building moments.
With God, we are loved unconditionally and without fail. Through God’s Spirit, we forward and express that same love – unearned and amazing – onto each person who crosses our path – without judgment or doubt or even fear – freely given to others as it has been freely received by us. This life is not about getting us into heaven, it is about bringing heaven – Emanuel, God with us – wherever we are and living out loud all that we have received from our Heavenly Father. Heaven’s streets are already packed full of folks who were not perfect and who never “measured up” in earthly terms, but who learned to love as they had been wondrously loved. Once we love in this way, we can do amazing things for all of humanity and for God’s Wondrous Kingdom.
Let it be so, Lord, and begin with me!