What Manner of Love?
By: Boyd Bailey
Sometimes I take for granted my sonship in the family of God. I forget my spiritual last name is Christian. Even worse, on occasion I don’t carry the name of my Lord in a manner that models His love. Thankfully, His love is what woos me back. Like a child who insists on being free from the restraints of a loving home, I soon remember (like the prodigal) the primacy of my Father’s love. Estranged from the Lord’s love is the loneliest place, but when resting in His love I’m secure.
The quality of God’s love is incomprehensible for the human mind, but it begins by defining us as children of God. Belief in Jesus has its benefits - we are adopted as a daughter or son into God’s family! What manner of love is the Lord’s love? A love that looked at the cross as forgiveness of sin, overcame death, and offered by faith, life eternal with perfect love. Christ died for us—to live in us—to love through us. Like the life-giving sun, the Lord’s love warms our cold, doubtful soul. (1 John 3:16)
Adoption into God’s family does not guarantee adaption into a community of Christ followers. It takes time and trust. We have to adjust to unconditional love and the freedom of forgiveness. If we are tempted to drift back to our self-redemptive days and settle for graceless living, we act like we are someone we are not. Driven by fear, we succumb to the shame of a former life buried by Christ’s death and resurrection. Perfect love does not allow us to linger on our imperfect past.
I just texted with the daughter of Pastor Jimmy Taylor, my spiritual father, who led me to Jesus and loved me like Jesus. Tears are flowing—-he’s close to going to heaven. Tears of joy for his homecoming to be with the Lord and tears of sorrow for all of us who love him and will miss him. I can’t adequately say how he loved me in my early days of following Jesus. “Boyd, the Bible is God’s love letter to you, read it daily.” “Boyd, you are loved by a heavenly Father who will never leave you or forsake you.” What manner of love? A love full of life, peaceful at death. (1 John 3:14)