When missionaries Jim and Nan Green first arrived in Zaire, they moved into a house close to the local school so their three daughters could walk to school. Except kids in the neighborhood would throw stones at them or pinch them.
That was difficult enough, but then during their time in Zaire, a monkey bit Nan, and Nan nearly lost her life. When visitors arrived at the airport, Jim took his Doberman to protect him if he ran into roadblocks of drunken soldiers.
Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Certainly, Jim was living out his calling as a missionary. And yet, he still wondered, in his new environment where it took 90 percent of his time and energy just to survive, could God really love him?
God is the source of all love. In fact, God Himself is love. 1 John 4:8 reads, “Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love.” To love and to know love is to know God.
Jim knew that God was the source of love and that the will of God was good and acceptable and perfect, and yet, it didn’t look good to him. “I had bought into American Christianity,” Jim said. He began to doubt the Word of God. He didn’t have any safety or security. He had no sense of accomplishment. How in his harsh surroundings could God’s will possibly be good?
God’s love involved sacrifice on God’s part. God sent His only Son into the world so that He might pay for our sins and we might live through him.
God’s love involves commitment (Romans 8:35-39). Christ stands with us no matter what. Nothing can separate us from His love. He wants the very best for us.
When we first experience His love, God then enables us to be channels of His love. He commands us to love him, our neighbors, ourselves and even our enemies. Matthew 22:37-39 reads, “ … You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jim says, “It’s always too soon to quit. “God uses us in our weaknesses. You can’t go through life without facing difficulties.” Trials are God’s opportunities to lovingly conform us to His likeness.
The will of God for each of us is to be conformed to the image of Christ. Jim gained a fresh understanding of God’s will for his life: To love God and to love others. Unconditionally.
Why do you think it is so difficult for us to grasp the full extent of God’s love?
In what ways do we communicate God’s love to others?
Read John 13:1-17. How did Jesus show love to his disciples, even Judas?
Why were the disciples so surprised?
What aspect of love was Jesus modeling?
How can you demonstrate this love in your life?
Who do you have a hard time loving? How can you show them love this week?
Because God is love, He is unconditionally committed to my well-being.
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