A foundational experience of being loved by God and a freedom to love others is the foundation of the Christian life and the key to living in emotional health, rest and peace, and a continuing sense of God’s presence in your heart.
Let’s consider what this looks like.
Love from God’s Perspective
I wrote previously of A Father’s Love Vision sharing that God set up Creation primarily to experience and respond to His love. Judgment, sin, righteousness, intercession, etc. are all important, but are all secondary.
In many cases a person becomes receptive to salvation during a time of difficulty in their lives.
Imagine if when the person came to salvation and joined a church their very first experience was that of being loved rather than obligation and duty.
Imagine their salvation call was from the pain of living without love and how that hurts ourselves, others, and the heart of God rather than their obligation to fulfill justice and escape the fires of hell.
Then imagine their first impressions were not making sure they fulfill their duty to pray, read the Word, attend church, tithe, and evangelize; but rather, it was an experience of being loved. At every service other believers hugged them, said kind words, listened to their heart, included them, invited them. An atmosphere existing with no competition or cliques but just plain and simple love.
I believe if this type of atmosphere was in our churches we could bypass a lot of counseling and years of struggle.
I believe this experience of love is what the Gospel is all about. It’s what people all over the world are starving for. 1 John 4:7, 8 — To know God is to love. He who doesn’t love does not yet know Him.
Maturing New Believers
As the new believer is founded on an experience of being loved, the next step is learning to stay in God’s love regardless of what life throws at him. And he doesn’t do this alone but with the support of a body of loving believers.
- Jude 1:21 …and to keep ourselves in the love of God.
- Jn.15:17 these things I commanded you that you may love one another.
- Jn.15:9… remain in My love.
In Jude 1:12 the Bible talks about believers holding Love Feasts. The word love here is actually “agape.” Agape feasts! A time to get together over a meal. A time to share God’s good love and take communion together.
A feast of Agape love. We take communion and recount God’s amazing love. We share a meal and share of God’s expressions of love in our lives. Finally, we make it a point to show each other how much we care, and how valuable each person is in our sight and Gods.
I believe this would be a nice way to draw people more deeply into an experience of God’s love.