God is continually transforming us into the likeness of Jesus (Romans 8:29). What this means for us is that God is continually stretching us to love as Him. A prophetic image that the Lord gave me for this was of new wine being poured into a heart shaped wineskin which symbolizes God pouring His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Now the more that God’s love marinates within our hearts, the more it expands our capacity to love. His love literally stretching our hearts just as new wine stretches wineskins as it ages and matures. The longer and more fully we embrace the Father’s love, the more His love will stretch us to love as Him. I am completely convinced that the Father’s love changes everything because His love is fully alive and moves us to live more abundantly which for me means being set free to love completely.
Genuine love is a God given birthright that too many people fail to claim. I mean we live in a pornographic culture where people pawn their God given birthright of genuine love in exchange for something that is perverted, shallow and selfish. God is love (1 John 4:8) and so He designed us to love. But, sin has perverted the way that we love. Now, here’s the good news of the Gospel for those who choose to believe: Jesus has restored us back into fellowship with God which means the Father’s love now lives within us by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Jesus has redeemed our perverted love back into genuine love. But, we need to choose to reclaim our God given birthright to this love which means letting go of our old way of loving and choosing to learn this new way of love.
After coming to faith in Jesus, one of the very first things that God revealed to me was that I really didn’t know what it meant to love. In that moment, Holy Spirit moved me to begin praying this very simple prayer: “Jesus, teach me to love.” I remember praying this prayer every day for years. Today, I am close to being 10 years in the Lord and I still pray this simple prayer, maybe not daily as I used to, but at least once a week I am confronted with how much more I need to learn about loving people unconditionally. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s God’s love that transforms my love to be more like his true love (I blogged more on this here: TRUE ✞= ♥ LOVE). Again, it’s Jesus who has redeemed our perverted love back into His genuine love.
A Scripture verse that I find great comfort in is 1 John 4:19 which says, “We love because God first loved us.” I find comfort in this because this means that I don’t have to generate this genuine love on my own, but just need to lean more and more into God’s perfect love (1 John 4:18). The more I press into God’s love the more His love will fuel my love both for Him and for others. So this is my prayer: “Jesus, teach us to love. Help us to follow your lead in loving the Father and loving others. Father, pour more of Your love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom You’ve given us. And Holy Spirit help us to rest in the Father’s love. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV).