Do You Know This Love?
The greatest commandment is that you should love the Lord with all your heart. It is clear that God wants our hearts. That He wants our relationship with Him and our service to Him to be from the heart and motivated by love. One of God’s major complaints against Israel was that they served him with their mouths, but their hearts were far from him. God wanted their hearts. And this is one of the problems with the law—it can produce fear of God, but it can not produce love for God.
Now there are those who feel that the reason there is so much sinning going on in the body of Christ is because there is not enough preaching about hell and damnation. They feel that believers need to hear more about curses and judgment in order to obey God. That if people are not made to be afraid of what God will do to them if they do not obey him, they will not serve him. I do not believe this for one moment.
And this why:
Firstly, what does this say about God? It suggests that the only reason people serve God is because they are forced to, not because God is good; not because He is worthy. If this is so, what kind of God is he? Do you mean God is so undesirable that given a choice, men will always choose to serve the devil? I cannot believe this. I am convinced that God is so good and so wise and powerful that anybody who gets to know Him for whom He really is will fall in love with Him and gladly serve Him.
Secondly, I do not believe God wants anybody serving Him because of the fear of what will happen if they do not. God gets absolutely no glory out of such service because it is not free and from the heart; it is forced and is merely external. Perhaps, I believe this about God because that’s how I would feel about anybody serving me out of fear. I would rather a person not serve me at all than for him or her to serve me only because they are afraid of what I will do to him or her if they do not. So, if the only reason a person serves God is because he or she is afraid of going to hell, I believe that person’s service grieves God and brings him no joy.
Thirdly, love is a far more powerful and noble motivation than fear and people will do far more because of love than they will ever do because of law. If you serve only because it’s the law, then you still are thinking only of yourself and will try to get away with whatever you can, if you can do so, without being caught or punished. The person, however, who serves because of love is deeply motivated to do good for the sake of the other, and therefore needs no law to do what is good and right.
Now, that’s the type of service God delights in and that is the type of relationship He desires to have with us. And this can never be produced in a heart motivated by fear of judgment. It is only possible in a heart full of faith and love.
That’s why God wants you to know the height, breadth, length, and depth of His love for you; that’s why He wants you to know His love that passes understanding!
Do you know this love? None of us knows it fully yet, but as we grow in our knowledge of His love for us, our own love for Him will abound more and more.
Child of God, here is a prayer from the Spirit for you. Pray this for yourself. Pray this for the saints. It holds the key to experiencing the fulness of God for your life today.
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 NKJV)