“37-40 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22:37-38 MSG
For some time, I have wanted to share about the reality of the Father’s love.
Now, I know what you are thinking, “isn’t everything you share about the topic of Father’s love??”
Well, yes, yes it is! However, in this particular post, I want to flesh that out and call you into a better understanding of what that reality looks like in our everyday lives.
For the past few weeks, I have been entirely enamored with the idea that not only should we come into a greater understanding of the Father’s love with our knowledge of the Scripture or our enjoyment of worship; but what if we could begin to settle within ourselves the reality of His love as first place in our lives? What if we allowed our top priority to be the Father’s love, when we get up in the morning, when we lay down at night, and every time in between? What if instead of allowing the Father’s love to be the “BEGINNING” of our understanding of the things of God (including salvation and starting a personal walk with the Lord), we allowed it to “BE” our understanding of the many spiritual blessings that we enjoy in this life?
As I read Scripture, I see the idea of the Father’s love as the highest priority of all to Jesus. One in which He shared in great detail with His disciples, specifically in Matthew 22. As I read verses 37-40 repeatedly, they begin to spark a new reality in me. One that is firmly established on the first commandment and calls this higher reality to take the first place in my heart.
As I said before, over these past few weeks, I have begun to see that it is the Spirit’s agenda to establish the first commandment, in the first place, in His church. By this, I mean the reality of the Father’s love must become our highest priority, just as it was the highest priority of Jesus and His first calling in life and ministry.
What does it look like to make the first commandment first place—or to live in the reality of the Father’s love?
We begin by understanding that this command to live within the reality Father’s love does not automatically start with us. It is only one expression of the ultimate reality of the Kingdom of God. In fact, it began long before the creation of the world, namely God’s heart that burned with perfect love and community within Himself. This love-stricken community is something that I often call an accurate representation of “home,” or “the fellowship of the burning heart,” or in proper theological terms, “The Holy Trinity.” Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit represent the pure and perfect reality of love. Wholehearted, pure, and holy love. The very being of God as we know it is love. Wholehearted love is first in His personality and the relationships of the Trinity.
Wrap your mind around this: from eternity past, God has loved God with all of His heart! Father God loved Jesus the Son, Jesus the Son loves the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit loves Father God! It does not end. This is the reality of His love. I would even go as far as to say, the very essence of how Father God thinks and feels is wholehearted love. So much so that His power and wisdom are only used to express one thing—His love!
When and if we can begin to understand the first commandment of Matthew 22 in this context, we will see the fullness of the Father’s heart for us. Ultimately, when we come to grips with the reality of how God loves, we will then be able to respond in wholehearted love because of who He is and who He created us to be. From this place, we will learn that we were created in His image for love, and the core reality of our being should be built on the relationship of love we have with Him.
Our reality of the Father’s love must come from our understanding of how much He loves Himself, and with the same intensity that He loves Himself, He loves us—His sons and daughters!
9-10 “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in His love. John 15:9-10 MSG
Over the next few posts, I want to flesh out this reality of the Father’s love, which can be seen in 5 distinct expressions:
1) Father God’s love for Himself: Each person in the Trinity loves the others with all their heart.
2) Father God’s love for His children: Father God loves us with all His heart, mind, and strength. He loves His sons and daughters with the same intensity that He loves Himself.
3) Our love for Father God: Because of the Holy Spirit, we can profoundly and intimately love God as our Father.
4) Our love for ourselves: We love ourselves in the Father’s love and for His sake.
5) Our love for other people: Because we have experienced such incredible love from Father God, it overflows and causes us to love others.
So I will leave you with this—Our greatest destiny and purpose in life is to participate in the reality of the Father’s love or, as I like to call it, “The fellowship of the burning heart.”
How do we do this? It is simple: Abide in Love!
As sons and daughters, we are to daily answer the call to live continually focused on the reality of the Father’s love. We do this by studying it, praying over it, and sharing it with other people. Our primary goal should be to receive love and to give it away. This is the essence of salvation and eternal life—to participate in “fellowship of the burning heart" and walk in the reality of the Father’s love.