There are many directions that could be taken in trying to learn about God’s love. But the burden of this series is less about obtaining a head knowledge of the doctrine of God’s love and more about having our spiritual eyes opened to the beauty of God’s love and receiving that love for ourselves. This exploration of His love is very much going to be in the context of our individual relationships with Him. By the end of the series, we hope to be more assured of His love for us as individuals, to better understand how His love manifests in our daily lives, and to learn how to abide in His love.
Why is it important to have a personal revelation of God’s love?
1. Read 1 John 4:16-21.
Having a personal revelation of God’s love enables us to love God. The Scripture says that “we love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). In other words, His love draws us; it drew us to the salvation experience and continues to draw us as we live out our Christian lives.
—Read Luke 7:36-50
The one who experiences God’s love, forgiveness, mercy and deliverance is better able to love Him deeply.
So, when we find our love for the Lord shallow and non-committal, we should ask Him for a fresh revelation of His love for us.
—Read Ephesians 3:8-19
Paul prayed for such a revelation for the Ephesian church. He said, “[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!” —Ephesians 3:19 Amplified Bible.
I believe that he also experienced such love himself hence his willingness to endure much suffering for the Lord. He felt privileged to be called to God’s service (Ephesians 3:7-8) and considered his suffering a little price to pay for all that God had done and still had in store for him.
He considered his relationship with Christ a treasure worth keeping at all cost (Philippians 3:7-11).
—Read Matthew 6:19-21
“… where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When God’s love is revealed to us personally and by experience, we find it easier to make Him our treasure. He becomes the one Person we need and desire the most.
2. Read 1 John 4:7-12
Experiencing God’s love teaches us how to love others and empowers us to do same.
Key points from 1 John 4:7-12:
v.7 – Love springs/originates from God.
v.7 – Everyone who loves has come to the realization, through his or her intimate relationship with God, that God is love; His ways are always love. This knowledge motivates its recipient to love just as God does.
Children, in their younger years, tend to treat others the way they have been treated. If they’ve been yelled at, they will yell at others. If they’ve been criticized, they will criticize others. If they’ve been bullied, they will bully others, and so on. God understands and uses this impressionable aspect of our human nature to teach us about love. He does this by placing us in circumstances that serve as “classrooms” where He practically imparts His love to us and thereby empowers us to extend same others.
—Read Matthew 18:21-35
The servant in this story received great mercy and grace from his master. As a result, he had the capacity to impart grace and mercy to his fellow-servant but failed to do so. He was reported by other servants and was incarcerated for refusing to impart what he had received.
The key lesson for us in the context of our study is that the servant’s encounter with his master enriched and equipped him to function mercifully in his interaction with his fellow-servant. We could therefore conclude that:
Human + GOD (in a “classroom” of love and mercy) equips Human to show love and mercy to others.
One of our problems we encounter in our Christian walk is that we tend to skip the “Human + God” aspect of this equation and yet expect to love others with the love of God. We do not dig deep to receive God’s love for ourselves but try to fulfill the commandment to love others, or we avoid the commandment entirely.
The truth is that when we are empty inside, and when we lean on our knowledge and understanding of God’s love, we find it difficult to love others. But when we are full of the awareness and assurance of God’s love, we find it much easier to endure the weaknesses of people around us and to persevere through difficult circumstances.
When we have received much, we find it easier to give much — and this is what God expects of us.
So, in response to the question, “Why is it important to have a personal revelation of God’s love and be rooted therein?” we can say, “it is important because this revelation
- Enables us to love and serve God with all our hearts
- Enables us to love others in the way that God requires.”
Reflect on the following questions:
- Have I deeply understood and experienced God’s love for me?
- Do I know, with all amount of certainty, that God is committed to me for good?
- Do I love Him with all my heart, and am I willing to do anything and everything for Him?
- Am I loving others in the way He requires?
If your answer to any of these questions is “no” then you should pray:
- Ask God to awaken your heart to His love.
- Ask Him to fill you with the knowledge and assurance of His love and to help you love Him in return.
- Thirdly, ask Him to help you to freely and willingly give love and mercy to others as you receive it from him.