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What Is the Power of God's Love?

What Is the Power of God's Love?

If you read many of my devotions or articles, you know that my greatest teachers in life are my kids and my grandkids. I am amazed at all that God teaches me through them. My son Jered is a general contractor and a carpenter. He can build anything. He has an entire workshop/garage full of tools. Most of them are power tools. Jered has taught me two things about power tools:

1. They do not work without a source of power.

2. They require that the one using them knows what they are doing.

I am convinced that one of the most frustrating experiences is trying to live the Christian life in our own power. It does not work without the power of love. It does not work without the power of God’s love - in us and through us.

I love the picture that the book of Ephesians paints for us of the importance of the love of God.

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Ephesians 3:18-19

Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesian 3:20 

By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. Ephesians 3:7

God loves us – and he will empower us – to make his love known. The power of God’s love starts with knowing God loves us.

Everyone is looking for love. We are born into this world needing to be held, cared for, and loved. We leave this world needing to be held, cared for, and loved. According to psychologists and theologians alike, we all need love. That is why the Bible is such good news. Look at what it says in 1 John:

God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:8-10

Let’s look again at Ephesians:

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Ephesians 3:18-19

Here is the good news for all of us: God is not mad at you. He loves you.

We are all familiar with dating. Some of us are dating now, looking for the right one to marry, looking for a partner for the rest of our lives. Those of us that are married remember dating and wanting to move from single to married—trying to make a good impression. Going to great lengths to dress nice, act friendly, talk nice and even smell nice. Some of us find ourselves single again and trying to decide: to date or not to date. It takes effort trying to live in impressive mode. Here is some really good news for all of us: God loves you just as you are. You don’t have to impress Him. In fact – He knows you too well to be impressed. He loves you like you are.

We adopted our kids. We literally drove up to the hospital and had our son carried to us by a nurse. Our daughter was handed to us by a lady who had cared for her for ten days after she was born and then handed her to us. And from the first moment we held them to this day, we have loved them. They did not have to impress us. They did not have to entertain us. They did not have to do anything at all. We loved them from the start. Not all of us received that kind of love from our parents. But we can all receive that kind of love from God. We are called “the beloved of God” in the Scripture. And that is who we are. But we must act like the beloved. We must live like we are the beloved. We must realize and accept the unconditional love of God.

Psychologists and theologians alike agree that we all need to be loved. You can quit looking for love. You can stop trying to be lovable. God loves you just at you are.

The power of love begins with knowing God loves us. The power of love ends with being the love of God to others.

Again - psychologists and theologians alike agree that we all need to be loved. That is the first and foremost human need. But they also agree that there is a parallel need that goes with the need to be loved. It is the need to love others. We all need to be loved. We all need to love others. This is why the Bible teaches both truths. The passage in Ephesians tells us we are loved by God – we already read that part. Here is the next part of the passage:

Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesian 3:20

By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. Ephesians 3:7

God empowers us with His love and then partners with us in loving others. This two-fold message is repeated again and again in the Bible. God loves us. God wants to love others through us. Here it is in the book of 1 John in the Bible:

But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. Since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. 1 John 4:8, 11-12

Jesus wants to fill you so He can spill you. He wants to fill you with His love. And then spill that love out on all those around you. This order matters. You cannot give what you do not have.

I would love to give you each $1,000. Heck – I would love to give you all $1,000,000. It’s not going to happen. Why? I don’t have it. You cannot give what you do not have. You must be filled with God’s love before you can fully love others.

I must be loved by God before I can be loving to my family.

I must be loved by God before I can be loving to my neighbor.

I must be loved by God before I can be loving to my friends.

I must be loved by God before I can move my enemies.

No one wants your Jesus until they want your life. No one wants your life until they experience your love. This is the essence of empowerment! The love of God empowers us to make the love of God known. Jesus loves you. Let that reality change your life. And once you know you are beloved, you can be free to love others. That is the gospel. It is realizing that God loves you. Realizing you can therefore love others. Jesus loves you just the way you are so you can love others just the way they are. This message is so needed in our country today because we are divided. Divided over loyalties, politics, and lifestyles.

So, let’s make this real today.

• Once I realize that I am beloved by God, I can love those who cheer for the wrong team.

• Once I realize that I am beloved by God, I can love those with differing political views.

• Once I realize that I am beloved by God, I can love those with different religions or lifestyles.

God does not agree with everything in my life – but he loves and accepts me just as I am. I do not have to agree with everything in your life – but I choose to love and accept you just as you are. This is our message. This is our empowerment. We are beloved by God. We choose to be the love of God to others. We are a people that have been changed by the love of Jesus. We are a people that are committed to sharing that love with others.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/eric1513

Mary Southerland is also the Co-founder of Girlfriends in God, a conference and devotion ministry for women. Mary’s books include, Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, 10-Day Trust Adventure, You Make Me So Angry, How to Study the Bible, Fit for Life, Joy for the Journey, and Life Is So Daily. Mary relishes her ministry as a wife, a mother to their two children, Jered and Danna, and Mimi to her six grandchildren – Jaydan, Lelia, Justus, Hudson, Mo, and Nori.


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