Sunday, March 22, 2015

Knowing and Believing - 1 John 4:16-17

"We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world." (1 John 4:16-17)
There are two aspects to the love of God in our lives. There is the knowing and there is the believing. Sometimes it seems that the love of God is everywhere. We feel His presence and we see His loving care for us all around us. Everything we do seems to be dripping with His love. Then there are those other times... times when God seems distant, when we cannot feel His presence, when we long for His love but cannot perceive it in the circumstances that assail our lives. These are the times when we must believe His love. There are times of experiencing His love but there will also be times when we are called upon to believe His love even though, at the moment, we are not experiencing it.

In some of the circles I move in. there is a premium place upon experience. We sing songs like, "I'm desperate for your presence," and "I cannot live without your presence," and, while in one since it is true, if we are refereeing to experiential Christianity, then these songs are wrong. God wants to bring us to a place where we are no longer dependent upon an experience but have come to a place of maturity where we can navigate life by faith; believing in God's love even at times when we cannot seem to "feel" His love. Believing in God for the reality behind the experience even while the actual experience is eluding us. In fact, sometimes the blessing of experiencing only follows after the work of believing. David said, "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." (Psalm 27:13) Many times, David experienced the love of God in the Land of the Living, but often that experience cam subsequent to the believing of it.

The key to God's presence in our life is not to sit and wait for it, or to strive to produce it, but to step forth in a life that has been brought into conformance with His. God is love, and when we live our lives in expressing that love to other's, then we are abiding in God and He in us. Regardless of how keenly we "feel" that presence, those who abide in love abide in God. The writer of Hebrews said, "Make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed." (Hebrews 12:13) Sometimes we must order our lives aright before we get to experience what we desire. Sometimes we must show the love of God to others before we experience it for ourselves. If we abide in love then we know we abide in God and those who abide in God will, over the course of time, also experience that same love. However, those who wait for love to show love may never experience the love they so desperately desire.

Love is perfected in us when we become like Him in the world; when we learn to love in this world like He too loved in this world and continues to love though He is now seated in heaven. To become like God in this world is to become loving and to love. The closer we reach this goal, the more it is shown that His love has been perfected in our lives. In the end, when we stand before the great judgment seat of Christ, we will have confidence in same measure to the amount of love we were able to show while alive. To those whose lives were conformed to Christ and conformed to love, great will be their confidence on that day for, as He was in the earth, so were they while alive. Let us not wait to show forth God's love, neither waiting to experience it or to release it to others. Let us believe in the Love of God and set out to show it to all who long to experience it in their lives.

David Robison

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