“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:1,2).

WE ARE CALLED TO LOVE OUR LORD. Indeed, we are commanded to love Him. Yet this is no ordinary command. While it requires us to do something, our duty is not so much the doing of something strenuous as it is the allowing of something wonderful. In the matter of love, we should see God as taking the initiative and ourselves as having the opportunity to respond to Him.

The apostle John wrote, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9,10). When we’re tempted to doubt God’s intentions toward us, we need look no further than the Cross to see what His desire for us really is.

In one way or another, sin always amounts to a refusal to let God love us. It’s a pushing away of the good that He desires us to enjoy, a selfish resistance to His goodwill. And this is great folly. Nothing in life is more foolish than to reject our Creator’s love because we think we can get a better deal somewhere else. The wiser we are, the sooner we’ll let Him love us.

Paul’s prayer for his Christian friends in Ephesus was this: “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17–19). To “know the love of Christ” and to be “filled with all the fullness of God” ought to be our highest aspiration. And we come closest to this aspiration when we’re “rooted and grounded in love.”

So then, what does it mean to pursue the love of Christ? More than our pursuing Him, it means allowing ourselves to be pursued by Him. It’s the choice to accept His benevolent will, ceasing to run away from the great love that He has desired to give us for so long. To learn what real love is, we must lay down our rebellion.

“Surrender to the love of that heart which was pierced to purchase your redemption” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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