1 John 4:7 & 16
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:7,16)
Muriel was pretty, vivacious, talented, fun, a great lover of God – and a lover of me! Finally, she agreed to be mine and everything in life was aimed toward the wedding day, August 24. I was so intoxicated with love for Muriel that I constantly did irrational things like subsisting on one meal a day so I could save money for the great day; and reading her love letters the minute they arrived, in spite of the fact that they consistently pre-empted my history class.
Shortly before the big day, I gathered some of my family in South Carolina, borrowed my father’s car, and headed for Nebraska. In a long, sweeping curve through the wheat fields of Kansas, a tractor had backed up traffic for what seemed like miles. The creeping traffic blocked our way. Finally, my chance came. I could see around the curve, ahead of dozens of creeping cars, and no one was coming toward us. I whipped out into the left lane of that two-lane highway and put the accelerator to the floor-not very smart. But I was crazy in love. I had one objective: to get to the one I loved.
Half-way through that curve, a speeding car appeared from nowhere, aimed right at us. I headed for the shoulder. “Oh, no! Why did they put that telephone pole there?” The thought barely had time to flash through my mind. I closed my eyes and aimed at the narrow gap between the approaching car and the telephone pole. We left one of my father’s fenders on that pole, but we limped on to Beaver City where Muriel and I began a lifetime odyssey together. And now?
Now Muriel lies in bed, unable to stand, walk, or feed herself. Knowing nothing, really, a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. But her contented smile sometimes breaks through the dimness and brightens my day. People speak of my care of Muriel as if it were something heroic-far from it. I love her more now than I ever did on that mad dash to Nebraska.
When I’m away on a speaking engagement, I miss her more. I long to be with her, to feel the squeeze of her hand. But there is a big difference. Now the love flows mostly one way. The connecting point is gone. We used to share our dreams, our work, our play, our children, our laughter, and our tears. We drew ever closer to one another. We became more and more like one another, actually. But we’re not much alike now. The mutuality is almost gone. Is that the way with God and you? He created you to be like Him so you could share His life and His love. He had a mutually satisfying love affair in mind. The relationship started out so gloriously, didn’t it? But for many Christians, something has happened. Oh, He still loves them and lavishes that love on them daily. But how do they respond? Communication is sporadic; love has lost its passion. Perhaps they can’t even identify with Him, because they are so unlike Him now. Sad, isn’t it? But that was never the Designer’s plan.
From all eternity God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were bound together in love, for God by nature is love (1 John 4:7,16). From the overflow of His loving nature, He wanted people to whom He could show His love and who would love Him back.
For communication and love to flow freely, the people God made would have to be like Him. The relationship couldn’t be like you and your dog. Fido may be a great friend, but communication is limited, and a dog is not exactly a “suitable helper” to you, as God said of the mate He was creating for Adam (Genesis 2 :20). Fido is a different species, but Adam and Eve, that’s another story. They were made for each other. Just as God created Adam and Eve compatible with each other, He created us to be God-compatible. If that compatibility weren’t there, in-depth communication would not be possible, intimate companionship would be missing. That is why God the Holy Spirit created humankind on God’s own pattern. As a result, Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden of Eden, sharing His presence and love. They were created to love God and be loved by Him. They were created in His likeness so they could experience that love. God’s design determines genuine life purpose. What do you consider to be your supreme purpose in life?
What about Christlikeness? Becoming more like Jesus enables us to fellowship with God, but it is not the ultimate goal. The more like Christ we become, the more we will be able to love God and receive love from Him. Becoming like Christ is so important that the major emphasis of this devotional is how we become like Him, but keep in mind that becoming like Christ is not the final goal. The goal is to develop our love relationship with God. He created us on His pattern and provided the salvation process as a way for His image in us to be restored. He did all these things with the ultimate goal of loving us and us loving Him. Before we close our time considering God’s purpose in making us like Him, let us reflect on ways we are becoming like Him and ways in which we are not.