Revelations on Love


WARNING: This is NOT a short post!!!

You guys--I’ve known Jesus for literally as long as I can remember. Like...I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know who He was and my life did not revolve around Him. I am absolutely certain that I could quote John 3:16 with my eyes closed and maybe backwards long before I could ever read.

I bet a lot of you probably relate to that. And perhaps just as many don’t. 

My point is this: I am no stranger to Scripture. I grew up around it--more like deep in it. It set the tone for so much of my life, guided me, defined me. I suppose I even went to college to study it more.

And yet, I still know so little. I am still learning from it daily. It can still be so new and so fresh to me every single time I come to it. If I know anything about Scripture after all these years, it’s that it is a living, breathing thing. It may be thousands of years old, but it is as relevant today as it has been in every other era throughout history and it is changing all who encounter it still.

And so here we are. 

This Valentine’s Day I decided to do a mini “camp out” with the word “love” throughout Scripture. I brought out my Fire Bible and flipped all the way to the back concordance section. I flipped and flipped until I landed on love. I honestly didn’t know what I was looking for, but I felt in my heart that I needed a refresh. This was one of those moments when I needed Scripture to speak in a fresh and vivid way. I wanted a revelation and a revolution and a Holy Spirit highlighting. Often times I love Scripture for the familiarity, and just as often, I love it for the way it can seem brand new even though I’ve read the same sentence a thousand times. The last few days have been the latter for sure and I thought I might share with you a few of these love revelations I’ve been turning over in my head and my heart since.

1. The very first thing that struck me did so before I even began going to the actual passages. I was quickly moved by how many pages upon pages there were of references to love in Scripture. Six. Six whole pages of teeny tiny print pointing to love. And then I got curious. You know, I hear so often that people think of God as angry and full of wrath--they think Scripture is a giant rule book full of judgement and outdated thoughts and ideas. So, I took a look. Just to compare, you know. About a half a page of references to judgement, half a page on wrath and half a page on anger---ALL of those references combined didn’t come close to the amount of references to love. #wow. I had never looked at it like that before and I tucked it away for a rainy day and a tricky conversation with someone who has a hard time with God and/or scripture in that light.

2. And then I started from the beginning, curious to see some of the first mentions of the word “love” in Scripture. Here’s the first one that really hit me in that brand new and refreshing way. A verse I probably sped over a ton of times in the past on my journeys to “read the whole Bible in a year” or something. A beautiful summary of that illustration I had landed on while flipping through the back reference pages. From Exodus 34 in The Message version:

“God came down in the cloud and took his position there beside him. He passed in front of him and called out who He was: God--God--a God of mercy and grace endlessly patient--so much love--so deeply true--loyal in love for a thousand generations. Forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. Yet He doesn’t ignore sin.”

Um. #wow again. Here’s what jumped off the page at me. GOD CAME DOWN. This great big, powerful God came down to where we were. He took His position beside Him --meaning something spectacular--God considers His place to be beside us, next to us, present with us! (Him in that context is Moses by the way.) He called out who He was. God shows up beside Moses and then tells Him who He is. The list is long and it starts with mercy and grace and patience and SO MUCH LOVE. He tells Moses that He is loyal in His love and will be for generations to come--that He will continue to forgive rebellion and sin. He says all of that first, and not from far away, from right there next to Him. AND THEN he gives the but. While He is all of those things first--love first--He also cannot and will not ignore sin. He can forgive it (let me remind you He says that first) but He cannot ignore it.

And that’s it. That is love---real true love. And this is God showing up in our space and in our context to show us what love is. It is merciful and patient and loving and loyal and forgiving and gracious but it is also just. It is big enough to call out the wrong in us in order to make us better and to forgive that wrong and go on loving us anyways.

Might I also add, this is the OLD TESTAMENT version of God. The way He describes Himself very early on in a time that we often think of Him as somehow colder and more distant and angry. No--this is who He was, who He’s always been, how He wanted us to know Him all along!

I know that we’ve got our favorites and the classics when it comes to passages on God’s love, but I’m making a case here to get this one added to that list! 

3. I’m forever a sucker for the whole Genesis 1/John 1 comparison. I adore the way that the words are interchangeable and the deeper spiritual meaning behind all of them. I end up back there at least once a month. I’ve always loved that we can take away from those passages that Jesus is THE light and THE Word that John refers to in John 1, meaning that The first Word God spoke was actually Jesus! Jesus was there from the very start of everything, the source of everything, and the thing that gave light and life to everything! So in my deeper exploration of love, I found another layer to that list of synonyms and my heart skipped a beat---do your best to stay with me here!

“God spoke light and light appeared. God saw that light was good and separated light from dark.” Genesis 1:3

The Word was first. The Word present to God. Everything was created through Him. What came into existence was life. The life light blazed out of the darkness. The darkness couldn’t put it out. -John 1:1-3

(ANOTHER VERSION)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
Here’s what we can take away so far. The very first thing that God spoke into existence out of the nothingness was light. The light was good and He pulled it away from the darkness. Remember---this is a light that is filling the Universe days before He creates the sun the moon and the stars--- John tells us that the Word of God is Jesus and that the Word was there in the very beginning present with God and one with God. He also tells us that Jesus is the LIFE LIGHT that everything else came from. Jesus is the source of all creation. So, the first Word that God spoke was light and that light was Jesus and Jesus was the source of everything. (Hope you’re still with me)

3. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love. 

Here’s where it gets crazy--CRAZY COOL that is. If Jesus is God and God is love, then couldn’t we use ALL of those words interchangeably….? Something like this:

--God spoke light (Jesus/life/love) and light (Jesus/life/love) appeared.

--In the beginning was Jesus (light/love) and Jesus was with God and Jesus was God (and God is love) and Jesus is the source of everything. The life light is the source of everything. LOVE is the source of everything!

This thought process literally blew my mind. I laid it out like this to simplify…
Word=Jesus=Light=Life=God=Love

So love--real love-- has been with us since the very beginning. In essence, since it is one and the same with God who is one in the same with Jesus, it was the very first Word that He spoke and it’s what His entire creation was born out of--light and love. 

I could honestly go on and on, but I’ll save some for another post. These are my love revelations as of late and I hope they stir your heart today and settle in--refresh you--like they have for me. As always, we would LOVE to hear your thoughts and questions and we’re always open for a conversation!

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