The Apostle John starts off his gospel with one simple truth: In Jesus, God takes on flesh.
Jesus defines love by taking up shop with us.
He defines love by joyfully, willingly, knowingly going to the cross for us. He defines love by taking on our punishment.
Life Without God: Real Hell
The fact of the matter is that we have willfully made the choice to live life without God. That is the problem of the whole human race. We can all testify to living life on our own terms, leaving God out of the equation. This is a fatal decision. Hell is having our dreams come true. In hell, for the first time ever, man is autonomous. He is finally left to his own devices. There is no community in Hell. There is no love in Hell. This is because there is no God in Hell. This is what it means to be “cast out.”
Prison, divorce, tsunamis, earthquakes, unemployment and depression are hard things to go through but they are totally hopeless without God being there. Our independence from God only buys us a world that literally spins out of control. There is no comfort in the God of our own making.
And this is why the news we have is so perfect. Jesus took our autonomy upon himself. He took our godlessness on himself. He took our isolation on himself. If we have trusted him we have no need to fear a godless future.
We know what love is because God shows us what love is in the life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, mediation and promised coming of Jesus. Love is not an empty emotion. Love is an active seeking of God’s will for the other person. This is true in our love for God Your will be done. This is true in our relationships to each other. We point one another toward Jesus. That is how we love each other- we seek God’s will for our children, our spouses, our coworkers, our friends and our enemies.
Love is Blind…Really?
We like to say dumb things like Love is blind. Well, the reality is that love is not blind. In fact, John has already said that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. God alone sees us as we truly are- and in case you are delusional tonight, you and I are not that cute. God takes us in spite of ourselves. He sees every detail, flaw, spot, blemish and wart and chooses to love us. Love is not an feeling or an emotion. Love is a choice. A moment-by-moment choice that God makes for us.
Do you know that, if we abide in Jesus, he gives us his Spirit to live in us and among us to make this a reality? We cannot love on our own but the Spirit empowers us to do what we cannot do on our own. Now we can love God and each other- and isn’t that the point of all this?
There is nobody that falls beyond our call to love. Nobody. Not Omar Khadafi. Not our boss. Not your wife. Not your husband. Not your ex-wife. Not your ex-husband. God’s love intentionally extends to his most hardened enemies- folks like you and me. And since he is not prone to powerlessly “fall in love” like we do, he will never “fall out of love” either. And that is a good day.
In the end God wins- and so can we.
Because love is not a feeling. Love is not an emotion. Love is a choice. One God has made for us in the person of Jesus Christ.
And we know all this because we don’t have to guess anymore. In Jesus, love has come to town.