Friday, February 5, 2016

How He Loves

    Y'all probably think I spend all my time listening to "How He Loves", but very few songs get me as emotionally charged about Christ's love for me and His affection for me as much as this one. I simply can't think of a better way of saying it than "How He loves us, Oh, how He loves us! He is our portion, and we are His prize, drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes. If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking!"

     Paul prays in Ephesians 3 that we would come to know the height, and depth, and width, and breadth of the love of Christ.The idea conveyed there is Christ's love as a vat or an ocean of incomprehensible dimensions. There's no mathematical way to calculate the perimeter or the area; it's just there, in front of us, immovable.

     This is the picture Paul prays that we would one day be able to fathom. I spent some time pondering that prayer this morning. It's interesting his prayer is that they would become more and more infatuated with the concept of God's love, that they would in some way be able to comprehend the enormity of God's affection for them.

     I want to spend a moment at looking at two aspects of God's love: His decisive love and His emotional love. Honestly, His decisive love, though incredible is something we all hear about in church. God is love. We're usually discussing His character trait of love which He has fixed upon us, right?

     He decided to love us. But what I want to hone in on is the emotional love. I know at times I get stuck picturing God's love as this decision, this cosmic gamble that if He loves me, I might turn out right and that every time I sin, God is reminded of how I don't deserve love, but He has to cause He said He would. It's grudging love, like a man married to a woman who doesn't shower in a country where divorce is illegal (there's a mental picture! :). Okay, so He has to love this sinner, so He will, but it's begrudgingly, like He's fulfilling His obligations.

     There's one word picture that shatters all that in my mind. See, His decisive love is in many ways pictured by His being our Father. That's often where I get this idea of frustrated love, like He didn't quite know who He was getting when He decided to love me. Kind of like a dad with a child. He loves the unborn child, but it's kind of a gamble. And like the often repeated jokes during the teen years we hear, now we see that love tested. And I picture in my mind that God is looking at us when we sin like a disappointed father when he hears his teenage daughter got a tattoo. Oh, he loves her, he just wishes she'd turned out differently, and now he'll love her cause he's her father, but...

      But there's another picture; Christ as our bridegroom. Now, it's an interesting idea, because He doesn't call Himself our husband (at least not that I know of). He calls us His bride and thus Himself the groom. Well, what's the difference, you're probably wondering.

     Him as our bridegroom refers to our constant relationship to Him compared to one day in a marriage, the first one. Now, there aren't a ton of grooms on their wedding days who aren't utterly infatuated with their bride. I remember when my brother got married. I've rarely seen him that distracted as before the wedding. His mind was focused on one thing and only one thing, Jeannie. It was single focused excitement and all out affection for his bride.

     That's the picture. The picture of a groom on his wedding day, totally infatuated with his bride; only instead of it being a one day feeling or a honeymoon affection, this is God's love for us all the time. It's an emotional love, an affection. It's not limited to a decisive love, a condescending, sometimes grudging love, but a radical affection for us that sees us on our worst day as still something inordinately beautiful because of His grace. It's the purest, strongest love, both in decision and in emotion, that can ever exist, and it is unbreakable.

     That's the love. Oh, how He loves us; oh, how He loves!

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