God is love and grace. You need to understand how much God loves you and the grace he has given you through Jesus redemptive work on the cross.
1 Cor.13: 13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”
1 John 4: 8: "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." The Bible declares firmly that God is love, and that God's love is greater than faith and hope. We understand immediately that God's love is incredibly big and valuable because: "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3: 16).
Rom.5: 8 it says, "But God demonstrates His own love for us: While we still were sinners, Christ died for us". This means that God chose to suffer and die for the sins and errors that we are guilty of. Jesus Christ suffered and died in your place for your sin. He took your punishment for your sin instead of you.
For an example: If you commit a crime, such as stealing cars, beating somebody badly and so on, well, then the police come and arrest you, then a court and a trial, you are sentenced to prison. This is how justice works in society, it is the way we preserve our society and the security of its citizens, the alternative is chaos and anarchy with horrible sufferings for everybody. However, it is God who is the foundation for Justice, and because God is the Truth and the Moral basis throughout the Universe, it will be a gigantic court and a day of reckoning for all of us, then we will be alone and "transparent naked" before to the Almighty God for how we lived our lives. Everything in that day will appear, each word of slander and malice, each pronounced lie, all of selfishness and lack of love in our lives, even the motives behind our actions and speech will be brought into light. But, for every one who has received Jesus and His salvation is Forgiven and set Free! Then all this shame, sin, failure and lack will be erased by the blood of Jesus that He shed on the cross for you and me! This means that Jesus is the Savior who says on that day of judgement (for example) "Peter is forgiven and reconciled, I suffered and died for his sins on the Cross, I took his punishment, he is forgiven and pardoned. Peter, my dear child, welcome into My eternal Kingdom”... This is God's Love dear friend ... It's a total, almost brutally self-sacrificing love that Jesus has given to you and me. Human love can never come close to a love like this.
When I was a new believer, I cried very much when I saw a spiritual vision. I saw Jesus who was totally innocent, totally pure and holy suffered and died for my sins. I cry before the Lord and explained that He really did not have to do this for me, I was guilty and should have take my own punishment, but I experienced how Jesus hanging bloody and suffering on the cross turned His face to me and said with a strong and everlasting love: "Peter, I love you, you are forgiven and free". Such an experience crushed my stubborn heart for ever, praise to the Lord Jesus, in all eternity.
Well, let's go to 1 Cor.13: 1-4: ”If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud”…This is quite revolutionary. If we do not act in and through love, everything we ever do is completely worthless. Even if all the gifts of the Spirit works through you and even if you give away everything you own and sacrifice yourself to death, it's nothing if you do not operate in Love…
This Scripture must drive all "religiously-minded" crazy. We use the term "religious" today as a description of a person who wants to show a religious proficient exterior, but without having a relationship and spiritual communion with Jesus. We read in the Bible how Jesus became enraged several times because of the "religious" Pharisees precisely for this reason, the Pharisees prevented others to come to God because they were so bad rolemodels or "representatives" of the Kingdom of God. Spiritual believers see quickly through this counterfeit because God's presence and love is not there. How do you know that? Well, we are called as the Bible mentions, to be “Christ letters” (2 Cor 3: 3), and give out Christlikness (2 Cor 2: 14). It is noticeable and feels spiritually if we have to do with Jesus. But, above all, it is reflected by the "fruits of the Spirit" in our lives. We read in Galatians 5: 22-23: "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”… As we can see here Love is first in this list, first love and then comes everything else, that's how it should work. The opposite of the fruit of the Spirit is the "works of the flesh". We can see this coming out from "religious" and others who do not want to know about the spiritual life in Christ. We can read Gal 5: 19-21: " The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The truth about our spiritual condition is found not when the sun shines and everything feels good and cozy. No, it is under pressure as it turns out. It is like when we pressing an orange or a lemon, then we can see what is coming out ... When Jesus hung on the cross in maximum suffering and press He took the punishment for the sins of all men there, He asked his Heavenly Father to forgive those who tortured and killed Him ... He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"! It was this that came out of Jesus in this extremely difficult situation! Jesus gave His all for you on the Cross, He loves you so much…He holds nothing back for you now either. Jesus wants to show His love for you every day, if you want to believe and receive.
How can we live in God's love? We can feel it overwhelming to be like Jesus. The answer is as usual in the Word of God, in Rom. 5:5: "And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." The answer is that we as saved and "spiritually born again" believers have received the Holy Spirit, and we have also because of that received the love of God in our hearts. We need to read the entire counsel of God and God´s will in the Bible if we want´s to have the whole truth. Everything in the Bible is related to several themes that goes as a "red thread" throughout the whole Scripture. This is why we can not pick out a few Scriptures out of context or out of the "red thread", that is, what God's Word says otherwise about a topic. If we do not carefully look up, we can distort the truths of God, and the gospel itself, which is extremely serious with eternal consequences. Therefore, we will now read Ef.5: 18: "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." The answer is that we must allow ourselves, by the Spirit of God, to be in God's Love. It is not automatic, God is a jealous God and He wants to have a love relationship and a spiritual communion with us. It takes two people to actively give and take love from the heart to each other if it´s gonna work. We understand this basis of our earthly love relationships. God is the creator of Love, and he is no different, God loves you and wants to be loved back.
Let yourselve be filled with the Holy Spirit so you can come close to God and His heart, draw closer to Jesus in a spiritual communion with God. Joh.7: 37-39 says: "On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them’. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified."
If/when we hunger and thirst for Jesus, we come to Him in our hearts and receive ("drink in") of his community, "streams of living water" through the Holy Spirit. Our relationship with God is throug the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit. Jesus is indeed love. We are close to Him through the Holy Spirit, we become one with the love of God. Everything goes hand in hand:
- You long/thirst for Jesus.
- When you draw near to Him in your heart, come to Him and open your heart for Him, well, then you will be filled with the Spirit of God, "streams of living water."
- God's love works in you, and come out of you as one of the fruits of the Spirit, wich we can read about in Galatians 5: 22. This is so simple that you have to be as a child to comprehend. Jesus rejoiced in Luk.10:21 and gave thanks to God the Father for having revealed these truths of God to those who are like children and not to the so-called wise, intellectual people.
In difficult situations the fruits of the Spirit will be present in the so-called everyday life. We can all, and do so sometimes fall into "carnality”, for exempel irritation, whining and bickering, perhaps in bad attitudes. In situations like this we know that it is time to draw closer to Jesus and allow ourselves to be quickly filled with the Holy Spirit of God and His Communion, and then also of God's love. And then ceases immediately that carnality. Just like when anointing with oil a squeaky hinge on a door. We open our heart's door to Jesus, then the Holy Spirit's oil, the presence of God fills us with God's love, and carnality is far away…
I want us to go to 1 Cor.13: 4-8. And so we allow God's Word to describe what and how real love is, and how God's love is towards you and me. We could analyze carefully each part and function the love of God. However, we will not do so now, instead we let the Holy Spirit speak and teach directly to our hearts. I close by that we slowly read 1 Cor.13: 4-8. Listen with both your mind and in your heart so the Holy Spirit can do His work in you: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away”… God is love, dear friend ...