God is Love

      If you google the “still face experiment” you will find an exercise psychologists have done that reveals our core need for love and connection.  A mother will do what she normally does, smile at her one-year-old, touch and interact in various ways.  Then she turns away, she then returns with a still face, no reaction and intentionally ignoring all the child’s tactics to make a connection.  Now they can only do this for a short time because the child quickly becomes distressed and starts to cry.  It is hard to watch, but it shows in a powerful way that our desire for love and attunement is our deepest emotional need.  
      God, as our Creator, designed us with this desire for love that is partially met in healthy relationships with others, but ultimately is satisfied in a relationship with God. God at His core is love. In the New Testament it does not just indicate that God shows love and shares love, but God IS love (1 John 4:8).  It is one of his key attributes.  His love is truly remarkable.  God’s love offers many things. 
     First, God’s love is FOR us (Romans 8:31).  This phrase is a decent summary of the Bible.  In a world where sometimes human “love” has hidden motives or selfish tendencies, God truly desires what is best for us. God wants us to thrive and flourish in the here-and-now, despite the challenges of living in a fallen world, and offers the ultimate, perfect life in the new heavens and new earth.    
      Second, God’s love offers us forgiveness.  Sin and its consequences are mankind’s greatest problem, and only the love of God offers a solution.  At the heart of our faith is the statement “For God so LOVED the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).”  God Himself paid the penalty for our sin through the loving and voluntary sacrifice of Jesus on the cross so we could be forgiven and free.  I appreciate the profound sentiment of Author Brennan Manning who said, “God loves us as we are.  Not as we should be ...”  God knows us completely, yet He genuinely and sacrificially forgives us anyway.  I ,for one, am so grateful that God loves with a forgiving-anyway kind of love.   
     Third, God’s love stays.  Some human love can be beautiful and lasting but ask those affected by our high divorce rate; often human love is fragile and fickle.  God’s love is faithful and persistent. Paul writes, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39).   God’s love for you is secure and safe.  His love is permanent and lasting.  I am moved by the words of song writer Matthew West who says, “You’re the God who stays.  You’re the God who runs in my direction when the whole world walks away.” 
     My hope today is that you experience to the very core of your being that God loves you.  If you embrace that love, it will transform your life.
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church