Monday, September 9, 2013

The Transforming, All-Powerful Love of Christ

Jesus loves you.

You've most likely heard it a million times. I know I have. Maybe you've believed it and felt His love in your life, through seasons of joy and seasons of trials. Or maybe you've wanted to believe it but struggled to find His love manifesting in your life, especially when the harsh realities of life left you feeling alone and anything but loved.

But He does love you, and this love is not like any other love we can find on this earth apart from Him. His love is selfless, perfect, and powerful. One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to not fully grasp and allow this love to do its work in us. It should transform us, perfect us, and equip us to live the abundant and Christ-like life that we are called to live.

Let's take a few moments and consider His love. It was selfless: it lead Him to the cross where He gave up His own life in order to save us from the death penalty of our sins and give us life with Him forever. It was perfect: Without considering Himself, He laid down His life for us while we were still sinners. His love is trustworthy, hope filled, never is perfect. His love is powerful: He didn't just die for us, He overcame death for us. Even the grave couldn't hold Him. His love is powerful enough to save Himself, and us, from the power of death.

His love saves us from death. Therefore, it can certainly save us from that which leads to death. His love is stronger than our addictions, our sins, our mistakes, our sicknesses, our imperfections, our failings, our brokenness. It's stronger than the attacks of Satan. His love is stronger than death and life; it is the giver of life.

If we aren't experiencing this love, we aren't experiencing the fullness of Christ in our lives. He is one with the Father, and the Father IS love (1 John 4:8). If you find that you are struggling with sin, pray. Pray that the love of Christ will transcend your sin and be washed away by the power brought forth through His blood. We alone are not stronger than sin, but He is, and by His death and resurrection He has given us power through Him to repent of our sins and live a life worthy of the calling we have received in Him (Ephesians 4:1). If you are struggling with addiction, bondage, disappointment, pain, regret, or hatred, know that His love is greater and allow God to work in you to rid you of these things. We aren't called to a life of bondage and slavery to sin-no, Jesus died so that we can be freed from that bondage and live with Him in righteousness. We are partakers of His death and resurrection and our lives should be reflections of that powerful truth (see Romans 6). 

And in that powerful truth, we can find comfort, peace, and joy because nothing can separate us from His love when we know how deep, how long, how wide the love of Christ is for us. For you. For me. 

"What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us. Who will condemn? It is Christ [Jesus] who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we are being slain all the day;
we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~Romans 8:31-39~

"...that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." 
~Ephesians 3:17-21~