See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. -1 John 3:1
Elyse begins today with Forrest Gump reference. Forrest is looking at his Jenny and says these words, "I may not be a smart man, Jenny, but I know what love is." Elyse says, "...in a way, he spoke for all of us. We all possess an innate awareness and understanding of love." Most people would be able to tell you of moments they experienced and felt loved for the first time. We know when we have been loved and times when we have felt unloved. We even know when we have failed to love someone as we should.
"The story of redemption is, in its purest form, a love story, but it's a love story unlike anything you could ever imagine." God's love is not like a hallmark card or a romantic movie. It goes deeper. It is richer. "It is love that is willing to afflict itself and its beloved for a greater good." From yesterday's story of Lazarus, Elyse describes the love of God as a "fierce love." This fierce love was described by John in these words, "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God;" This is not the "courtesy love" when you get off the phone with someone or the "church love" that you speak to your brother and sister in Christ on the way out the door. Imagine the Apostle John in a public place (like a mall), you are walking and thinking that "God loves me," and you see him. John has a huge sign in attempt to get your attention, he is jumping and yelling... "This love is the important thing about you; it changes and will change everything!" Are you happy to continue in your little musing about God's love when you could be experiencing what John so excitedly proclaims?
Fierce love left the splendor of Heaven to take on the form of baby in manger and experience the life of a man here on earth, yet without sin. Fierce love became a man who "poured out of every drop of an eternal hell's worth of wrath upon the bloodied head of its delight, and cried, 'Father, why have you forsaken me?'" The goal of this love was for you and me to be called Sons and Daughters of God. "All this pain and grief is bent on one primary goal: your adoption and His eternal praise." Because of this love, you can have a Heavenly Father.
John continues in 1 John 3:2-3, "Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure." Believers don't just experience this fierce, adopting love, but we have this incredible hope of being changed into something glorious. John ends verse three by saying "everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure." "So much of our lives as Christians is spent in futile doubt, weak questionings, and apathetic, self-serving strategies. In part, we fail in our war for purity because we spend too much time meditating on ourselves, our work, and our growth." Our hope is often in ourselves when the verse tells us to hope in Him!
Today, I rejoice that His love bought adoption for me. I pray I never take that love lightly or get over the fierceness of it! Elyse gives a challenge in the last paragraph, "See Him! See what your adoption cost Him. Steep your soul His desire to have you for His own, and after you have done that, pursue the purity that is a mark of this fierce love."
I will wrap this up with a thought from my childhood, I used to sing a song when I was a kid that started like this, "God loves you, you know that it's true. The story gets better I read it in a letter..." My challenge for myself today is to read God's Word, His wonderful letter. It shows how much God loves and how to pursue purity. As I have grown up, the same story keeps getting better.