Frankly, I think we have carried this aspect of God’s love a little too far. I’m not saying that God’s love is limited or that we can ever exhaust the boundaries of God’s love. But I really feel that we have taken it to such an extreme that it is hurting the believer and the church! Time and again, I hear accounts of people relishing their time with God, in devotion, in worship, in wonder … in lurve … Hey, that’s great! But when you look at their lives, their conduct and their ministry, something just doesn’t line up!?
Let’s consider a familiar account from the Bible (with some creative licence if you’d permit me) …
In Isaiah 6, we read of Isaiah getting into the presence of God. How glorious, how spectacular, how awesome to see the Lord seated on the throne! As Isaiah takes all these in, he is overwhelmed by the holiness of God and realises his own unworthiness. He knows he should just die! But by the grace of God, he is cleansed and set right before the Holy One. Then the Lord asks in v8, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Filled with gratitude (he should have died but was spared, remember?), Isaiah raises his hand and enthusiastically responds, “Here am I! Send me!” And immediately, he receives instructions and marching orders from the Lord.
Getting out of this devotional time, Isaiah thinks to himself, “Man! That was good! I still have the goosebumps to show for it. I really experienced the lurve of God! By His lurve and grace, I was spared. Not only that, I was called because God lurves me so much and wants to give me meaning and purpose! Such lurve! What lurve! (sings) Oh, I lurve You, Lord, greater than anything …”
The next day, Isaiah wakes up early, positions himself and waits for God again. After praying in the Spirit …. whooooooosh!!!! … he finds himself in the throne room again. The same scene takes place with dancing and singing cherubims and seraphims. It’s just too much for Isaiah and he weeps at the knowledge that a sinner can be allowed in God’s presence by His grace. Then the voice of God asks, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Isaiah jumps up from his knees shouting, “Oooh, yes, yes! Me, Lord! Me, Lord! Send me! Me! Me!”
After that, Isaiah goes about the entire day carrying the lurve of God in his heart. He just can’t stop singing, “I lurve You, I lurve You, I lurve You … I lurve You, I lurve You, I lurve You …” (prophetically of course, since he knows what Hillsong would sing many years later). More than that, Isaiah can’t wait to be with the Lord, to feel and experience His lurve again. And for the next 10 years, that was what Isaiah did each and every day.
Then one day, as Isaiah was once again savouring the lurve of God in His presence, the Lord asks, “How have you changed and grown, Isaiah?” Surprised by a new question, Isaiah says, “Changed and grown? Is that required of me? I thought your grace is always enough and because You lurve me so much, I am sure You can and will always overlook my faults.” Then God asks the next question, “And what have you done to fulfil the call upon your life?” Sheepishly, Isaiah responds, “Oh that? (nervous laugh) That really helped me, y’know? It gave me a sense of purpose and it felt really good to be called by You. But oh … the family, the kids, the home … You understand right, God? I’ll get to it someday. But right now, it feels so good to be in Your presence, to feel Your lurve! Can we not spoil the moment? Let’s turn the dial up on lurve, and just lurve me all over again, Lord!”
I know this sounds really absurd! But is it, really? I will be bold to say that this is happening in the church today! Hey, I have nothing against the love of God and His awesome, amazing grace. But I have a big issue if it becomes an excuse and a justification for sin and disobedience! How can we claim to be in God’s presence and not be changed by Him? How can we say that we love God and not be willing to deal with the areas and issues that upset and displease God? How can we receive an instruction, not attend to it, and simply wave the lurve card to get away with it? How can we accept a call and not fulfil it if we say we love our Master and will do His bidding? It just doesn’t line up at all!
If we want to embrace the love of God, do it correctly not presumptuously! God’s love is not wimpy, mushy lurve that strokes our heads and makes excuses for our non-action. Not in the least! There is a power in His love that can move us from where we are now, to where He wants us to be! His love challenges us. His love changes us. His love compels us. His love convinces us. His love calls us. His love commissions us.
Please, my brothers and sisters in Christ, don’t remake God’s love into what we’d like it to be. It was the same love that sent Jesus into our sin-ridden world to be ridiculed and rejected. That same love moved our Lord to walk the walk of suffering. And it was the same love that finally nailed Him to the cross. That is the Love of God! And that same love “has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 5:5) It is not passive, but active. It is not reactive, but proactive. May it likewise move us to maturity and to mission for the sake of our Lord and His Kingdom.