One of the many words in the English language that we tend to overuse has to be the word, “love.” Now, love is not a bad word. It’s just that its meaning, significance, and implications have been cheapened a bit by its universal usage. Many people have become desensitized to loving something or someone because of the various qualifiers that we place on things or people that we love. For example, I can say that I love pizza, I love sports, I love Christmas, I love dessert, and I love my wife. While all those things are indeed true, how might one begin to distinguish my love for all of them? One would hope and even rightly expect that I love my wife more than I love pizza, but this brings us back to our sometimes-casual use of the word, “love.”
Now I know for a fact that many of you use this word in many genuine ways. When you tell someone that you love them you do mean it in all its importance and significance and that is valuable. What is it that this kind of love delivers to us? What is it about receiving this kind of devotion from a friend, family member, spouse, child, or parent that brightens our day and realigns our perspective? Hopefully all of us have those kinds of relationships in our lives where we have this sincere love shown and given to us often.
One of the main deliverables that genuine love offers to each of us is a sense of security. When you know that you are loved, there is a sense of permanence and confidence that takes hold in your life. When you know a love like this, there is an assurance and certainty that you can take to the bank every time.
For many of us in our relationships, we are unable to show this love perfectly. Our love has limits. Although our love can be sincere and genuine at times, it can only deliver so much because of the way that our sin and selfishness can creep onto the scene. This is what is so amazing and life-giving about our text for this week from 1 John 3. In the opening verse, John blurts out in euphoric marvel: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! John got to walk, talk, and travel with love personified. He got to spend the better part of three years experiencing the most secure kind of love that there is: the love of God shown to us through Jesus Christ.
The love of God has indeed been lavished upon each of us and through this love, we receive security. We can be assured of His love, we can be assured of our place in His family, and we can be assured that He is doing a mighty work in us to give us hope for tomorrow. When you know and live in this kind of love, the question becomes how does this shape your perspective about yourself? How does it impact your view of those around you? How does it influence how you live in a way that shares this love that was first given to you? We are invited to trust and rest in the security of this love and then seek to deliver it to others who might need the assuring grip of it too.
Pastor Ben Bigaouette