The love of God; who can measure it and who can fully fathom it? It goes further than the stars and crosses from the East to the West. As Dutch evangelist Corrie Ten Boom once said, after she was asked about her experiences in a Nazi concentration camp: “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”
That’s the love that carries us through this life and that’s the love we should share with others.
Once a chaplain knelt down by a wounded soldier and offered to read him the Bible. But the soldier whispered that he preferred some water to quench his thirst. The chaplain promised to get him some and went about looking for clean drinking water. When he returned the wounded soldier asked if there was something to cushion his head with. The ground was so terribly hard for his aching head. The chaplain did as he was asked. But there was more.
“I am so cold,” shivered the young soldier. The chaplain didn’t hesitate and took off his own coat and put it over the dying lad. The boy looked at him with a far away look and whispered: “Chaplain, if there’s anything in that book of yours, that made you care for me like you just did, I would love to hear it. Please read me your Bible.” (Adapted from Good Thots)
The Good News is that we as small, broken humans may know the love of God and that we may know God personally. Deep inside every man is an empty spot that God has created for Himself alone. It’s the temple of your heart and it cannot be filled by anybody or anything other than God Himself. No inferior presence is allowed. It’s from there God will want to instruct and guide your life. As believers we will gladly agree. Isn’t it wonderful to know Jesus, and to rest in His goodness?
However it is also clear from the Bible that to have opened our hearts to Jesus is not the end, rather it is the very first step in our relationship with God. Now the real work starts. Believing alone is not enough. As the apostle John wrote: “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” *
That’s not always easy. The words are easily spoken, but to do the deeds can be a different story. That usually requires sacrifice and devotion; our old man rebels. The old man, or the natural man, as Paul calls it; the man who does not know God, is being guided by natural instincts, and these instincts are self-centered and selfish.
Old man? Have I not become a new man since I gave my heart to Jesus? Does it not say in the Bible that old things have passed away and all things have become new?
True. But just because we have given our hearts to Jesus, doesn’t mean we don’t have to battle the old man any longer. Selfishness is still a formidable enemy and not to be underestimated. E.M.Bounds writes in his book on prayer: “Nothing poisons the fountain of spiritual life so effectively as selfishness and self-centered prayer.”
It’s easy to understand. Imagine your child running up to you and saying: “Dad, Mom, I don’t really care what you guys are doing. Just give me my money so I can be happy, and for the rest I would prefer you to stay out of my life.” That would hurt.
Why do we think it wouldn’t hurt God?
On the other hand, how happy it will make you if that same child runs up to you, hugs you and tells you: “I am not interested in getting your fancy car and your money. I am just so happy to be with you. That’s enough for me.” That’s the way God would like it to be with His children. The more we grow in our relationship with Him, the more the love of God becomes real to us. And as the relationship with God grows, the kind deeds and the sacrifices just flow out of our lives, without us even thinking about it. Gods wants that kind of a relationship. Then His love will flow in all of its force. The kind of love that knows no borders and that crosses any ocean and for which no mountain is too high. And if we mess up again and by mistake yield again to the old man and its selfish nature? God’s love is always secure, even if we make a mess of things. Listen to the words of King David. He said: Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.*
*1 John 3:18