Our church, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, has sent out missionaries to assist orphanages in Romania. While we preach the gospel there and disciple the people, do you know what is one of our primary reasons for going? It’s just to hold the infants. We want to cuddle them in our arms and love them.
Scientists tell us that an infant brain’s development depends upon touch and love. Children, like all of us, desire to be loved upon. Too little attention of this kind can result in a condition known as “failure to thrive.” If these infants do not get the love and touch they need, they become seriously at risk for lifelong mental and physical problems.
That’s why we send out teams to love and hold the babies.
It intrigues me that even babies have an inborn desire to be loved. Just as interesting is that many adults have a desire to love those babies in return. People simply want to love and be loved.
Clearly, the Lord has implanted this need for love deep within us. As human beings created in God’s image, we reflect Him who is love. The Bible describes love as a mutual exchange of giving and receiving—and we embrace this mutual exchange when we love God and love one another.
The wonderful reality of love is this: God so loved the world that He sent Jesus, His Son, to lay down His life on our behalf. And now He calls us, His people, to spend our days loving as Jesus would have us love, through the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s what love is all about.
If you ever want to approach God for anything, it is vitally important that you understand His character. If you do not know that God is merciful, then it will be difficult for you to ask Him for mercy. If you do not realize that He is gracious, then it will be difficult for you to ask Him for grace. Knowing the character of God gives you the rock-solid confidence to come to Him with joyful expectancy.
And here’s the great Bible truth about God’s character: He is love (1 John 4:8, 16). God’s love never fails! God has never stopped loving you. He does not love you when you are good and hate you when you are bad. God’s love for you remains constant and unchanging. It cannot fail. God continually pours out His love upon your life, for His love for you does not depend upon what you are, but upon Who He is.
And quite simply, “God is love.” That’s the place to begin.
I want to encourage you to gaze for a little while into the loving eyes of our heavenly Father. And then reflect that divine love back to the Source. Then, and only then, I challenge you to direct His love to the people around us—to those whom Jesus died to save.
Love is a magnificent and glorious truth of who God is. The Lord is our great example of love. And we fulfill His purpose for us when we become conduits of His love to those who desperately need it.
- excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith