What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “stand with God”? Do you think of it as a defensive reaction when under duress, or as an offensive reaction when preparing to confront an antagonist? Or…maybe a little bit of both? (Read Romans 12:9-13)
But what if I told you that in order to stand with God, you must first love with God’s love?
And because you love, you can stand…
Let me explain, beginning at the beginning of God’s Not Dead 2.
It doesn’t take long for us to see the depth of character in our film’s main protagonist, Grace. After all, she has built a life that seeks to serve others: her students in her classroom, and Walter, her grandfather, in her home.
Walter is getting up there in years. His health challenges are restricting his mobility and limiting his ability to care for himself. If not for Grace, he might suffer alone. And if not for God, he might not have Grace…at least, not this Grace.
In our reading passage today, we read the marks of a true Christian. The first characteristic is genuine love. This is not the natural kind of love between friends or even family; this is God’s love…”agape” love. It precedes holding fast, showing honor, serving the Lord, rejoicing, hoping, exhibiting patience, praying with constancy, contributing to others and showing hospitality. In other words, genuine love lays the foundation to make all the other acts possible. And these acts are not the work of the flesh; they are the fruit of love.
As we all know, we can’t give what we don’t have. Therefore, our first step is to receive the gift of salvation that is offered through Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, who came to save us from our sins. When we receive Jesus as our personal Savior, God begins His work in us, calling us to love with agape love. The Apostle John says it this way: ‘We love because he first loved us.’ 1 John 4:19 (ESV)
The more we love God, the more we desire to please Him. In fact, obedience to His commands is an evidence of the depth of our love for Him. Is it genuine love, or fire insurance? Is it genuine love, or convenience? Is it genuine love, or a desire for something He can give us?
Times of trial and testing will reveal the truth. (Read John 14:23)
Because we love, we will stand with God and we will stand for God. We will keep His word, regardless of the cost.
In our movie, Grace is about to enter a season no one would volunteer for; however, we know this one thing: if she loves her Lord, she will stand.
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, as we begin this devotional study, I pray that each one of us will feel the urgency of this hour. Prepare us for what lays ahead, help us to trust You more, and give us the strength to stand in the face of great adversity. May Your grace sustain us and grow us to be more and more like our Savior so that the fruit of divine love will be visible in each of our lives through our attitudes, our words, and our actions.
In Jesus name, amen.