How deep is your love?

27 Nov 2017

‘We love because he first loved us’ (1 John 4:19). It’s one of the shorter verses in the bible, yet so profound. It teaches us that we are loved by God, and it has nothing to do with what we have ever done for Him.  No matter who we are, where we’ve come from, or what we’ve done (be it good or bad); he loved us first.

Love for God, a growing relationship with him, and a commitment to follow Christ as Lord in our daily lives: this is the essence of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. For a missionary to help others know what it means to have faith in God, they of course need to be knowing, living and experiencing these very elements themselves.

In Acts 16 we are told how Paul and Silas were thrown into jail in Philippi (a city in Greece). In a surprising twist, after God sends an earthquake to break them free, their jailer comes to them asking how he also can be rescued.  He falls at the feet of Paul and Silas and asks: ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They reply, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household. Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.  At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds” (for Paul and Silas had been flogged and beaten) “then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer … was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God’ (Acts 16:29-34).

Paul and Silas were ready to introduce their jailer to their Lord. They knew who to introduce the jailer to, they knew what the jailer needed to do, and they knew the word of God to share with him and his entire household. Paul and Silas knew God, personally. And their experience of God’s love in their own lives gave them the assurance that God himself would meet with the jailer and indeed gift to him the saving grace found only in his son Jesus Christ.

Jesus was asked which is the most important commandment? He answered to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  Passionate, heart-felt love does not come cheaply or quickly. It is not a simple matter of choice, we can’t just decide to love God with our whole heart.  As in any relationship, deep love grows through quality time spent together, learning each other’s ways, discovering each other’s likes and dislikes, and building trust. Only as we cultivate these roots in our relationship with God, will our love for him flourish.

Pioneers most treasured core value is ‘Passion for God’. God’s love for us defines us, saves us, and sustains us.  And because he first loved us, we are able to love him in return, with joyful abandon.  A missionary who knows God, loves God and is passionate about him; now that’s someone with something precious to share.

-Jo T

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