1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!

One summer, several years ago, I drove to Eastern Washington by myself to see my dad. he lived in Airway Heights at the time; he has since passed away. I wanted to bless him then, to show him I loved him, to do something special for him.

I bought a couple hundred dollars worth of groceries and stuff – he offered me an ice chest so I could take it all home with me!
I offered to cut his toenails because he had complained that he needed it done and no one would do it – he refused to let me!
I didn’t argue with him or admonish him like I used to do. I just wanted to bless him.
He was drinking all afternoon.
I ended up eating by myself some hours later as he took a “nap” on the couch. And then I went to my hotel room and prayed.

His house and life break my heart. The house is filthy and broken down. Dad doesn’t seem to be able to receive any blessings. He cannot seem to stand my being nice to him. It makes my heart sad because there was no opportunity to speak of eternal things. I was unable to see any opportunity to do anything or say anything that might have eternal value other than by demonstration of my love.

My dad was totally closed to talking about anything deeper than the weather, the last place he worked, the sprinkler outside, the car race on TV and the ribs in the oven. He never asked me about my health, my marriage, my school, my job, or my life in general. He never said, “How are you?” “I love you,” “thank you,” or anything that would say he was glad to see me.

Was he? I have no idea. There is darkness and shame and abuse and sickness and selfish motives and accusations in that house. And denial.

Listen, do I love my dad? Yeah. Why do you think I love my dad? Because I’m supposed to – he’s my dad? Or because of the fond childhood memories? Some of my childhood memories are fond, the rest are filled with fear and shame, so it isn’t that. I love him because I choose to.

One thing I know for sure: God is good and his love is unshakable! Jesus came into a world that was full of shame and abuse and sickness and selfishness and accusers who denied that he was the Christ. His disciples – his best friends – abandoned him. He had a perfect relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and yet he came in the form of a man and “made himself nothing, taking the nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). He didn’t have to. But he was in perfect unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit in that he loved mankind. He humbled himself before the world, and they killed him.

The world is so closed and dark! (kinda like my dad). God must find us so hard to bless sometimes! (kinda like my dad). He wants to bless us. (kinda like I wanted to bless my dad). (Why was it so difficult for him to receive that? Because of the shame and fear?)
Why is it so difficult for us to receive it?
But God doesn’t give up! THAT’S LOVE! That’s God’s love for us.

There are hundreds of examples of God’s love for us in the Word. It’s difficult to find examples of OUR love for God. There is one fact about our love for God – it’s a command! (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27).

How do we develop a love relationship with Jesus if love is a choice and a command?

Two Examples:

First Example
Peter was a devout follower of Jesus before Jesus was arrested. Peter denied knowing Jesus after he was arrested. That denial caused him so much grief and shame that he went back to his old life. However, after Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He came after him!


Jesus didn’t wait for Peter to “come crawling back!” Jesus went to him! When Peter saw Jesus waiting for him on the shore, Peter didn’t wait for his fishing boat to be ready to be brought in. Instead, he jumped in the water and swam to shore. He didn’t pout or run away. He got to Jesus as fast as he could. And Jesus restored him. Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved him, and each time Peter told him, Lord you know I do! (See John 21). He chose to love Jesus, and Jesus received his love.

Second Example
36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. 37 When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.

47 [Jesus said,] “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” |
Luke 7:36-38, 47-48.

What a beautiful expression of love.

I’m not talking about the woman who wet Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair – although that was a beautiful expression of love.

And I’m not talking about when she anointed Jesus with the expensive perfume – although that was a beautiful expression of love.

I’m not even talking about when Jesus forgave her sins – although that too really was a beautiful expression of love.

I’m talking about the example Jesus gave us when he received the woman’s expressions of love! Imagine. He could have compassionately taken her by the arms and stood her up, dried her tears sweetly, and said, “You don’t have to do all this.”

How would she have felt? A little short-changed maybe? A little numb perhaps? Maybe even angry and hurt?

She chose to love and to express her love for Jesus, for she who is forgiven much, loves much. And Jesus received her love. He chose to receive her love. That’s beautiful.

How do we show our love to God?
1. We look forward to being with Him.
2. We run to Him every time we stumble. (swim to Him if we have to!)
3. Loving God means receiving every blessing from Him with a grateful heart. Gratitude is a huge part of showing love to God!
4. And RECEIVING is as much an expression of love as GIVING.

When you chose to love Jesus, He receives your love.
When you chose to express your love for Jesus through gratitude or obedience or worship, He receives your love!

What does the Lord want to impart to you, bless you with, heal you of, or bestow upon you, that you have not yet been able to receive?

Holy Spirit, tinker in my soul to remove any anger, fear, or shame that drives a wedge between us.
Jesus, I want to run to you daily in anticipation of receiving your love!
I choose to love you; thank you for receiving my love! I can’t love you enough!
Help me to know you better so my love will go deeper. Help me to express my love to you. Help me to receive your love.
Thank you, Father, for your love and forgiveness, and for having a plan for my life.

In Jesus’ Name,