Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
“Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
As we move into this month that’s marked by a day dedicated to love, I felt there couldn’t be a better time to share a snippet of our upcoming Sonkist book entitledI Choose LOVE! As you may recall, I Choose JOY! is my most personal book yet-but this next volume in the I Choose series is the one I’m most passionate about. Why? Because it’s all about God’s love. The Lord loves me, and He loves you too. Here’s a little about that wonderful love for you to read right now:
I’ve often wondered if some people struggle with Jesus so much because they just can’t grasp how someone, even the Son of God, could possibly love them. For countless people around the globe, their tangible experiences with being loved have been shaky, at best. For others, the realities have been painful-being used and abused under the auspices of what another calls “love.” And many wonder how something that sounds so unfathomable, like the unwavering love of God, could ever become a reality in their lives.
But if these individuals could dig just a bit deeper into Jesus’ story, they’d find a man who experienced the same types of pain, losses, rejections, and suffering that they have had-yet His love overcame it all. Jesus left the wonders of Heaven to live an ordinary life, mistrusted and mistreated by those who should have welcomed His presence. He suffered and died because His desire is for everyone to be saved (II Peter 3:8-9).
The Greek word for Jesus’ compassion for mankind is “agape”-which is an unconditional love. I like to call it “just because” kind of love. The Lord has no strings attached to His love. There’s no tricky fine print. In other words, the Lord loves us “just because.”
This aspect of God’s gift of love seems too simple for certain individuals. There are men and women who would feel much better if they did something to earn salvation. As Scripture points out time and time again, we can’t do anything to win or gain eternal life. It’s a gift given in love that should be lovingly accepted.
We have been urged by the Lord to respond to His love in a unique way. In His discussion with the religious leader, Jesus explained God’s expectations for all of us: to love Him with our heart, soul, strength, and mind-and to love our neighbors as ourselves. In I John 3:23 we find this concept reframed this way: “And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.”
Again, we are faced with what our response should be to His loving gift. Why did Jesus place such importance on this? Because His love, while unconditional in every way, should change us! “Just because” kind of love should inspire us to love our Creator as well as everyone He has made. (from Chapter 3, “Love Thy Neighbor”)
We’ll keep you posted on when I Choose LOVE! will be available, but in the meantime, why not use this month as a great opportunity to reboot your thinking when it comes to love? It all starts by fully embracing the Lord’s gift of love and then multiplies as you reach out in love to those around you. Remember, you get to choose-that’s another one of God’s amazing gifts to all of us!
Thought of the Month
Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.