Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry


By Jeannette Haley

“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” Solomon’s Song 6:3

It is quite obvious that the cycles and rhythms of American traditions continue to function in spite of all the world-shaking events that rage over and around us. They are as predictable as the drumbeats at a Pow Wow. For example, before the first (not last) piece of candy hits the bottom of a trick-or-treat bag, the red, green, gold and silver of Christmas is already front and center in many commercial outlets. Then, just as quickly as Christmas comes and goes, flashy red Valentine cards, candy and flowers take center stage. 

The idea, of course, is to encourage as much spending as possible to show how much you “love” another or others. The more you spend, the more you love them, right? Even though that’s how we are usually conditioned to think, believe and behave, it isn’t necessarily true because real love is so much more than knocking yourself out and going into debt to prove a point with temporary, material things.

Real love, on the other hand, is not temporary. It never passes away because its source is God, and God is the great I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3:14) and He is immutable. “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” Lamentations 3:22, 23. God’s love is as indestructible as He is, for “God is love” 1 John 4:8, 16. Even knowing this, however, the question that floats to the surface for most is, “If God is love, then why is there so much evil and suffering in this world?” The simplest answer is, “Because beginning with Adam, mankind rejects, resists and renounces God and loves darkness more than the light because his deeds are evil.” “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (See John 3:19; Romans 3:23.) Therefore, in this world, we all suffer the consequences.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

But God is still love. His love cannot be diminished, tarnished, tainted or destroyed because of the destructive works of man or devils no matter how unspeakably gross, horrific, terrifying or unconquerable they are by human means because His very essence is love. This indestructible love of God is what Satan, the fallen angels and demons fear and despise for they have no weapon that can quench the love of God. They can lie, beguile, deceive and destroy, but they cannot, nor will they ever be able to alter, weaken or extinguish the love of God. There is no power in heaven, or earth, or below the earth that can terminate the indestructible love of God. 

We read in 1 John 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” This is love. Take note that it doesn’t say, “Here is what the love of God is: it is making sure that in this world you have health and wealth, fame and fortune, and every other little thing that makes you happy.” As silly as that may sound, isn’t it what so many CINO’s (Christians In Name Only) think the Christian life should be like? How many have asked, “If God really loves me like the ‘God loves you’ bumper stickers, truckloads of Christian paraphernalia and lip-flipping “prophets” say, then why is my life such a mess, why am I so lonely, sick, tired, broke, depressed and miserable?” In other words, “It’s all God’s fault this has come upon me.” 

All “these things” come upon us because we live under a curse in a fallen world. In the course of life hopefully we learn that we reap what we sow and pay consequences for bad, wrong, evil and stupid decisions, and often suffer, directly or indirectly, because of others. The key is, always bear in mind that God is Sovereign which means He is preeminent in power and authority. God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Therefore, no one, not devils nor angels, or any other thing can “go over God’s head” to carry their appeal to a “higher power.” No wonder Job “…arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” Job 1:20, 21. Did God ever diminish in His love for Job even though He allowed him to lose all of his children, his wealth, and his health? NO!

Sadly, the word “love” has become a verbal ping pong ball in our morally degenerate culture and deteriorating English language. Just the mention of the word “love” can cause the head of a witch, or woke liberal, to spin like the Wheel of Fortune landing on the word “sex.” This is but one proof of the power of language; change the meanings of words, and you can change the foundation of a moral society into a corrupt one. 

Moving up a notch to the bulk of society, the word “love” takes on a more acceptable hue, but it is generally confined to suitable and socially acceptable practices that don’t require personal sacrifice to any great degree. It is basically a polite exchange between people that gives the illusion of friendliness with a nod towards honesty, with a dalliance of caring interest. In other words, your toast looks buttered, but not enough to really “soak in” and make a difference.

Reaching a little higher on the “love barometer” we find a complex of both the saved and the unsaved, yet decent people who truly love their own. These people are more aware of the needs of those who are close to them, and they do often invest and give generously within their circle as the opportunity arises. In fact, these people can become so wrapped up with their own little group or family that they firmly believe they fully understand what “real love” is all about. They are not interested, however, in becoming too involved with “outsiders” although sometimes they may donate to the needs of others, again without personal involvement, thereby appeasing their conscience. So, the question is, do such people truly know the love of God? Here’s what the Word says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” 1 John 4:7, 8. 

Of course, there are many “degrees” of love, but the final group is God’s remnant. Who are the remnant? They are the “few” that Jesus talked about. “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” Matthew 7:14. These sojourners on the narrow path were sinners who, because of the great love of God, found the “Way, the Truth and the Life” in Christ. (John 14:6.) They know that “…God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8. How do these on the narrow road, a road that is hard to travel, a road of self-sacrifice and oftentimes suffering and even death, know the God of love, and the love of God? Here’s how: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (See John 3:16-18.

Even though we may be born again Christians, we are still in this flesh, and in this world. We are still human and we still have free will. Therefore, we need to be diligent about guarding our hearts and not let our love for the truth weaken, fade, or slip. Those who refuse to love the truth will be sent, from God, a “strong delusion that they should believe a lie.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11.)  Imagine you are standing before Jesus, and His eyes are looking into your soul. He speaks to you, and gently says, “I am aware of your good works, hard labor, and patience. I know that you can’t stand evil people, and you have keenly discerned those who are Christian workers sent out to establish churches, but who are false workers and liars. I have seen your patience as you labored under heavy burdens without fainting.” (My paraphrase of Revelation 2:2, 3.) But before a surge of joy can bubble up within you and explode in your brain, He says, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come to you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of his place, except you repent.” (Revelation 2:4, 5.) No amount of work or laboring is sufficient if we lose our love for God in the process, for if our love fades, so will our faith and hope.

We need to settle it in our minds and hearts that God’s indestructible love must never be used as an excuse to ignore His Word, His commandments, or the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” Revelation 2:7. Going back to 1 John 5:4, 5 we read, concerning overcoming, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”    

Finally, as each day brings us one step closer to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, may we continue to grow in faith, hope and love for, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us” 1 John 4:18, 19.