Yesterday I had to smile as I watched two kids climbing in the trees out front of my house. The little girl was describing the house she had up in the branches of the tree and the little boy was having some sort of adventure as he climbed. As they played, the little girl started singing. It may have been a tune she knew but I’m fairly certain she was making up the words to it as she went along! Either way, she was singing about her house in the tree and about God loving us and something about God lifting up the branches of the tree. I was struck by the way she sang about God’s love. She had no doubt that God loves us. It was just one of those things that “everyone knows”. It would most likely seem silly to her to think that He wouldn’t love us. Of course He loves us! How ridiculous to think that it would be any other way!
And that is exactly what God tells us in so many ways. “While we were yet sinners” the Bible tells us, “God so love the world that He gave His only Son, that we might not die [the penalty for sin] but have eternal life with Him.” Out of His great love “wherewith He loved us”. And yet, there are times when I don’t seem to believe that. Times when I think God might take His love away because I’ve messed up or because a heavy (hard thing) has happened. But my doubt doesn’t negate His love or lessen it in any way! “God is love.”
The other night a friend told me that she was praying Philippians 1:9-11 for me. Challenged by that I went back to look at that passage more closely. It’s a prayer that you would grow in ridiculously lavish and unconditional love directed by constant growth in the knowledge and the cunning awareness (discernment) of what things are excellent and to be pursued, leading us to ridiculously lavish love genuinely displayed and pure and artless in its demonstration due to being filled to the brim by the fruits of the righteousness of Jesus Christ Himself to the glory of God. This ridiculously lavish love is the very love with which God loves us. No end in sight! No conditions for its receipt! Such a rich and lavish depth and to such an overwhelming and superfluous amount that it is absolutely ridiculous in a wonderful and awesome way! That is the love of God. So “this I pray” for you my friends, “that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil. 1:9-11)