“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.” (Intro to Love Actually)
I love this intro to the movie Love Actually. The vibrancy of airports is just so like – reunions, love expressed. 2 days before Christmas I arrived home from a business trip at 1am in the morning. Normally at that very late hour the arrivals hall is empty except for a few very dedicated and a few committed taxi drivers. Not this time though. As I walked through the doors from Immigration into the Arrivals hall I was greeted by a sea of faces – people all ages, all eager to welcome their families / friends home for Christmas. The crowd was just amazing. The atmosphere was amazing. At 1am in the morning love was indeed all around!
In 1967, the BBC asked the Beatles to come up with a song for “Our World” the first global television link. They were asked to come up with a song containing a simple message to be understood by all nationalities. The song – “All you need is love.” It was said “It was an inspired song and they really wanted to give the world a message, the nice thing about it is that it cannot be misinterpreted. It is a clear message saying that love is everything.”
And the simplicity of the song’s message is still the same today – all you needs is love – but to that I add God’s love. Life is about learning how to love. Life is full of adventure, triumph, tragedy, and changes that enable us to grow in love and mature in Christ likeness. Being a Christian is not about a ten point plan, a list of dos and don’ts. It is about relationship, relationship with God.
The hallmark of the believers life is not his or her ability to observe certain spiritual disciplines – to go to church regularly, to read the Bible, and to avoid doing bad things. As Bill Johnson says “Christianity was never meant to be a life of disciplines. It was always meant to be a life of passion.”
“We have come to believe in God’s love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, that gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” (Pope Benedict)
Have you ever heard the saying “What you behold, you become?”
I believe this statement applies to our relationship with God. If we are in love with God, then out of that love relationship and time spent in His presence will flow a love for humanity and for the world. His heartbeat becomes our heartbeat; His passions become our passion; His priorities become our priorities. Love awakens.
God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love. (C S Lewis)
When asked what was the most important commandment, Jesus responded that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength. To love God with everything we have and everything we are is the most important commandment and is our true calling as Christians.
To be secure in who we are we need to lay hold of and keep hold of the revelation of God’s love for you. For that will be what will sustain you through life – through the trials, through the trenches.
The late theologian and author Father Henri Nouwen, used to say that the spiritual life is a life in which you gradually learn to listen to God’s voice saying: “You are my beloved son; you are my beloved daughter. I love you with an everlasting love. I have moulded you together in the depths of the earth. I have knitted you in your mother’s womb. I’ve written your name in the palm of my hand and I hold you safe in the shade of my embrace…You belong to me and I belong to you. You are safe where I am. Don’t be afraid. Trust that you are beloved. That is who you truly are.”
The way we live is important but if we live without love, it is meaningless. The reality is, if we love God we will find that the way we live changes – it is much easier to obey out of love. We can only give away what we have. If we are called to represent Jesus to the world around us, we must have regular encounters with His love, because it’s his love that He is trying to communicate to the world through us.
Passionate love should be the substance that primarily characterises us as believers. The most natural thing in the Christian life is to be passionately in love with Jesus and for this blazing love to infuse all that we are an do. The greater thing we were made for – the thing we were meant to give our lives for – is relationship, first with God and then with one another. Our ultimate purpose, which is loving Him and being loved by Him.
Rick Joyner said this “the love of God is not only our greatest treasure. It is the most powerful force that will ever impact the earth.”
Christ did not die for us that God might love us, He died because God already loved us. Love is not the result of redemption, it’s the cause of it. AW Tozer