As Valentine’s day approaches here it seems that love is on everyone’s mind. For some it is a memory of a former love, and for other’s it is a dream of future love. Yet in all of these things, the Bible speaks of the most important and potent love of all, indeed this is true love, a love that is limitless, a love without any reservations, and a powerful love which can conquer all.
So today we will be examining this special love, because through it, we too can experience the blessings which it brings.
Those of you that have been coming here for a while, may remember a time or two when I shared a bit of my history. In my earlier years I actually had very little love for God, in-fact I really hated to even read my Bible because I saw it as nothing but a rulebook. Whenever I opened it, I saw only all of the things I was doing wrong. Then I would go to church or turn on the TV and I would listen to preachers tell me that I needed to love God more, that I needed to love Him with every fiber of my being.
Hearing them say that only frustrated me more and made me more angry and bitter because it seemed that every time I tried to get close to God by reading my Bible, it would only serve to remind me how much I had failed and how wretched I really was.
My friends, this is a trap that many believers fall into, and it is a snare still perpetuated and taught by many churches today. And if the story of my earlier years sounds like someone that you know, or even you have felt like this, then today you are going to be set free from it.
The Bible makes it very clear that there is a source of love, and that source is God. Jesus personifies love, and without Him, no one can truly love. We are bankrupt without Christ Jesus. The error of trying to love God more is used by the enemy to keep us feeling separated and apart from Him. As long as we feel that we need to do something before we can be accepted, then we will always be insecure and unsure of our relationship with Him. And the plain truth of the matter is that Christ has already done everything for us to be accepted anyway.
We are going to be looking at two scriptures, both of which will show these points openly. The first is in John 4:5-10. This is the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. Now many of us are familiar with certain aspects of this story, but not many of us actually catch the secondary meaning here. Let’s read it now:
“Then comes he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
There comes a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus says to her, Give me to drink.
(For his disciples were gone away to the city to buy meat.)
Then says the woman of Samaria to him, How is it that you, being a Jew, ask drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give me to drink; you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water.”
Do you see what Jesus is saying here? How many of us can understand that Jesus did not truly need her to give Him a drink? He could’ve either gotten it Himself or materialized a glass of water out of thin air. He asked her for a drink with the intent of showing her how truly empty she was… how bankrupt she was without Him. Look at what He says in verse 10: If you knew the Gift of God and who it was that asks you for a drink, you would ask a drink from Him!
Jesus is showing her that He is the true source and that without Him, she really has nothing to give. Now let’s bring this back to our subject and look at our second scripture for today, found in 1st John 4:17-19:
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
We love him, because he first loved us.”
Now we all know and love verse 17 because it is one of our favorite truths, as He is so are we in this world. Notice though that strangely it is connected with love, and that somehow this truth, when truly grasped and meditated on has an effect of perfecting our love. Now why is this? It is explained in the following two verses.
See in verse 18, it is made clear that perfect love casts out fear. There is one source of perfect love and it is not us. Even if our love is made perfect, we are never the source, the source is Jesus Christ. If today you have some fear in your life, you can draw from Jesus by recognizing how much He loves you, how much He cares for you and what He has done for you, and your fear will be destroyed at its very core.
Then we have verse 19, and this is the key here. Our attempts to “love more”, to love God more and to love people more, will fall completely flat if we don’t first receive God’s love for us. Like the woman at the well, we are completely empty and spiritually bankrupt apart from Christ. This is what caused me, in my earlier years (and many others as well) to be so angry and frustrated, and why the message of the preachers did not help me. I was trying to give a drink to Jesus, when I had no drink to give.
My friends, there are still well-meaning but woefully misguided preachers today telling people that they need to love God more without understanding the truths of these passages of scripture.
Do you try to pour water from an empty cup?
Instead, draw from Christ every day, receive His perfect love, then your love will be made perfect, and you will be well able to give – having received properly from your source.
His well never runs dry, it is always full. Take all that you need, and be fully satisfied.