What is Love Part 2

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| MICHAEL ELS

Last week I spoke a bit about where I believe an absolute definition of love could be found in the example of Christ and now I want to unpack this a bit more and give it more depth.

To grasp the example that Christ has set, we need to understand that Christ (God) looks out from eternity and sees us for all that we are, all we were and all that we will be. God foresees our brokenness and fallen nature, our pride and rebellion and says that he is willing to do what it takes to have us as His children, to demonstrate his love and compassion, while remaining true to all his attributes. He sees beyond these broken vessels that are prone to stumbling and entrusts them with a treasure like no other, declaring that we were worth the sacrifice; an unconditional sacrifice.

Now I want to stress here that anyone who has been in love will tell you that there is a sacrifice in laying yourself down for one another, this is something that is self-evident and often won't be disputed, at least until they come up against the cross. Some think the cross was not necessary and often ask why couldn't God just forgive us? I myself have pondered this question, yet now I often ponder something quite different. I wonder how would we truly grasp God’s love and come to terms with his pain in our sin and rebellion. If the cost was something that we were completely unaware of, this would not bring us to an appreciation or acknowledgement of what has been done for us. If we were merely to consume the free gift of grace without making the connection between grace and the sacrificial hands who made it possible, then we wouldn't truly value that which we have been given so freely. I think an illustration will help here.

Growing up most of us would get birthday gifts from family and friends and we would always get that one gift that we really didn't have need of, or it wasn't really something we wanted. So we accepted it, only for it to sit in our closet and never be seen again. We didn’t make the connection between the gift and the price the person paid; therefore, it wasn’t as well appreciated. To be clear I'm not referring simply to some monetary value, I’m talking about a sacrificial value to that individual.

Now an illustration that might be a bit closer to home that serves to make it more tangible. If we had seen our parents working tirelessly for the food on our tables and saw the sacrifices that they made to put clothes on our backs, if we knew the things they would often go without in order to provide for us; this would then provide us with a new perspective and gratitude.

We would then have an appreciation which transcends worldly value because we have seen that the gifts that were given to us so freely, were birthed out of loving sacrifice. If we fail to make the same connection with the cross, we will not grasp the love that was given so freely and unconditionally. This expression of His love would then become the most valuable treasure, shipwrecked and lost at sea. I would add here that just because it is lost at sea, it doesn't imply that it doesn't exist or that it will never be found. We need to seek diligently and earnestly with perseverance and belief that it will be found if we are to regain that which we have lost. 

I stated earlier that there is no other picture that compares to the love Christ displayed toward us and I am sure that the only time we will see anything like it again is when we stand at heavens gates and He wipes away our tears. Restoring all as it ought to have been; but as we slumber in our mortal frames, destined for something greater, we should pursue a greater understanding of this love. He is faithful and will give us understanding when we need it most. Love is greater than a feeling, it is the embodiment of the person of Christ. Allow this picture to lead you to the painter of such a majestic work. 

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