How to Find God's Love and Live In It


Surround me with Your tender mercies so I may live, for Your instructions are my delight.
Psalm 119:77 NLT

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
Romans 13:10 NLT

God is love. There’s a verse in the Bible which puts it as directly as that:

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
1 John 4:16

It means that God’s very essence, the ground of His being, is love.

So if we were to concentrate on just one thing — that would be to focus on what love means, because in a sense that is what God is all about.

What does it mean to really love God? What does it mean to love others the way God loves them?

Surely that means more than loving God personally. We can do that in our heads without it changing us.

We can’t separate the person from what they stand for. Loving God must mean also loving His ways, and that means giving high regard to His order and values. That is about preferring others above ourselves and having a special place for the disadvantaged, the poor and those who we might otherwise consider inferior or of no account.

What does it mean to apply the rule of love in politics? To love others in an adversarial system?

The rule of love in politics means respecting others as the people they are, respecting their character, and respecting their rights and their role to hold contrary views.

It is welcoming the creative tension brought by people who hold opposite views to us.

In church life, it means a focus on really knowing God personally, because that’s the only way that we can really know what He is like, and what He is like, is this elusive quality of love that we are trying to get hold of.

We can’t work it out. God can reveal it, and He can give us part of Himself so that we are enabled to love with His love.

He did that in a special way by giving us Jesus — that was like giving us part of Himself in a way that was sacrificial.

He does that by giving those who believe and trust Him, the empowering of His Holy Spirit. That is God giving us part of Himself to live on the inside of us and enable us to live above our basic humanness and grow more like Him. More loving, more understanding, more generous to others, more insightful.

There’s a lot under the banner of ‘church’ or ‘Christian’ which we know really isn’t like that at all. So why is this?

A lot of what is under that heading isn’t really about God at all. That sounds surprising! But man has been adept at constructing a religion about God. That’s about constructing a system of ordered practice that makes us feel better about ourselves, without ever getting to the point of really knowing God and giving our lives to Him.

And it doesn’t change us. It doesn’t put God’s love inside us. Only God’s Spirit can do that, and we have to know that we need Him and ask Him. That’s not a religious performance carried out by proxy — it’s us and God and recognising our need of him.

He has made it easier for us. The way for us to know Him is through Jesus who crossed the divide to become human and who understands us and helps us. He has paid the price, so we don’t need religion to keep doing that. We just need to change our thinking and trust Him — which is the very first announcement He made:

”The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!
Mark 1:15

“Repent” means to turn, and it helps to understand it as turning in our thinking about how we see ourselves, unholy, before God, who is holy

“Believe” means to believe and trust, and the Good News is that God’s Son, Jesus, has made a way for us to be made right with God by His actions and not ours.

Which is just as well, because we would never make it.

The Good News is… good and exciting and transformational, whereas religion is dull and boring and hard work and it leaves us unchanged.

The Good News is about God’s love for us, and how we respond to that love and become changed by it — and find ourselves living more and more God’s way as a result.

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
Surround me with Your tender mercies so I may live, for Your instructions are my delight.
Romans 13:10 NLT, Psalm 119:77 NLT