What do you do when you’re driving? Listen to music? Podcasts? (If so, please send me your recommendations!) Talk on the phone? Do anything necessary to keep the kids in the backseat content?
In high school, through college, and for the first year or so of being married and working I listened to the radio on my drives. My presets were the local hipster music station and a few country stations. I’d alternate, skipping back and forth during commercial breaks or songs I didn’t like. The main theme of the songs that came through the speakers? You guessed it. L-O-V-E.
I remember initially embracing the happy romantic love songs in high school. Just months later, I turned to the bitter ones for awhile after some unwise choices and self-inflicted heartache. In college I sought out the ambiguous love songs, just to be safe.
Car time post-kids has become Scripture review and prayer time interspersed with worship and kid’s music. And I’m grateful for that. Recently when I went out by myself, I found myself turning the dial to a country station. There were a few new songs, but the same themes: swearing undying love (often with language bizarrely akin to worshipping the other person), lamenting lost love, and hoping for love in the future.
I now can clearly see how myopic it is to limit love to romantic relationships. Of course that’s always been true and we can all attest to that when we think about how much we love parents, siblings, in-laws, children, and friends.
Even greater than those special loves us is the Source of all love: God the Father. He shows His great love through Christ His Son. The Holy Spirit searches the deep things of God, including His deep love, and reveals them to believers. As I spend time studying the way that the Trinity loves within Himself and the way God loves His created people, I no longer crave the cotton candy imitation that’s on the radio.
Love is an obvious theme in the gospel of John. Thank You, God! I legit need obvious themes! Since John describes himself in the book as “the disciple who Jesus loved” it only follows that he wants his readers to share in that experience along with him. There are so many times in the gospel (Hey there, John 3:16!) where John explicitly records Jesus’ words about God’s great love for the people He has made.
John also communicates Christ’s love in every word and action of Jesus he includes in the gospel. The first words of Jesus in John show us Him inviting Andrew and another disciple over to His house. Jesus doesn’t just say that He loves us- He invites us to spend time with Him- at His place!
He goes to a wedding and saves the groom’s family from embarrassment (and also a potential lawsuit – I learned in BSF that the bride’s family could sue if the groom’s fam ran out of beverages!) by providing wine.
He heals and speaks kindly to an invalid at a pool who (per what’s recorded at least) doesn’t seem particularly grateful. After trying to take a break with the disciples, He feeds the crowds who only sought Him out to see a sign. And then He takes the time to tell them about Himself as being what all the signs point towards! He is the Bread of Life Who came down from heaven.
We get to read about His deep love and grace towards the woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery. What a good King. When you struggle reading about David, Solomon, Xerxes, and the rest, look at Jesus. There has never been nor will there ever be a King like Him.
He’s patient with the judgy disciples who assume that the man born blind is a worse sinner than they are, then opens the man’s eyeballs and, because that’s even more vital, the eyes of his heart.
And I’m only up to John nine in listing things Jesus did and said. No wonder John declares:
“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if they were written one by one, I suppose not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written.” (21:25)
Sanctification for believers is gradual by definition. Maybe- hopefully!- you’ve known for a long time that Jesus’ love really is the only pure love out there and are experiencing it more and more with every moment. It took me longer than it should have to understand and believe wholeheartedly that He really does love me and from there to explore that love above all other earthly pleasures and even my relationships.
And oh, how unparalleled His love is. It only becomes more sweet as we grow in Him. Today I reviewed John 11. It’s probably the hundredth or so time I’ve said it. And I marveled afresh at Jesus and His incredible love for His people.
“Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus.”(11:5)
Christian, remember how very loved you are by your Savior.
To anyone who doesn’t yet know Him: He wants to lavish His love upon you. Go to Him. Confess your sin and receive His sacrifice, offered on your behalf because He loves you.
“Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13