1 John 4:10, 16a (NLT)Our Loving Effort
10 This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him....
At a personal level, often in our pursuit of God, we look at what we do in our search or in our pursuit to find Him as an expression of our love for Him. We trust in our ability to hold on to Him by memorising scripture verses, for example. We attend Sunday service every week, with the hope that the sermon we hear will keep us in His favour.
Often however, we forget where in the Bible the verse is found at best, or worst, mis-quote it entirely. Occasionally during a Sunday service, you'll find oneself nodding off or taking that nap when the sermon does not seem to have that "vroom-factor".
At a ministry level; an example of how we trust our ability to hold on to God are preaching that emphases on our love for God with teaching like Luke 7:36-38 "Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman". Such teaching on its own, invariably leads to works to be accepted, approved or even to be justified by God. The teaching overlooked the rest of the passage from Luke 7:v39-50 or from dwelling on what could possibly have brought the sinful woman to her loving act for Jesus.
Preaching and teaching that we are to "cleanse" ourselves before coming into God's presence sounds good, after all isn't that what we should do when we come into the presence of our Almighty God? However, that is not what scripture says that God asked of us. Such teaching brings about a life that is sin-conscious, instead of being Christ-conscious. It also cancel out the need for the blood of Christ and dishonour Jesus finished work at the cross which empower us to do Hebrew 4:16 (NLT)
16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.because of who He is in Hebrew 4:14-15 ....a great High Priest who understand our weaknesses for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin.
However, it is not so much what we do that our Heavenly Father is looking for from us. It is in our believing that He loved us that interest Him most. And how much does he love us? So much so that He sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
It is not in our ability to hold on to Him that we are to focus on, but in His love for us that we should be focusing on (1 John 4:10). In doing so, we will come to trust our lives to Him (1 John 4;16), and that is what interest Him most in us. This knowledge of His love, empower us to love one another (1 John 4:11).
The following is a short story, I hope better depict what I am try to get across.
A little girl and her father were crossing a narrow bridge. The father was kind of scared that his daughter might fall off the bridge so he asked his little daughter, "Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don't fall into the river."
The little girl said, "No, Daddy. You hold my hand."
Puzzled, the father asked, "What's the difference?"
"There's a big difference," replied the little girl. "If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go. But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go."
In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond. In the illustration above, the bond is that between the father and his daughter.
Rather than us reaching out to hold onto our Heavenly Father's hand, especially in our time of most need, it would seem to be a far better thing to have our Father God hold onto our hand. A slight change in the emphasis of who is holding whose hand, but the difference in the outcome can be far reaching.
How do I do that, let my Father God hold onto my hand?
Seek to be conscious that:
- God the Father LOVES YOU. (1 John 4:10)
- you are a Child of God (Roman 8:16)
- you as a Child of God, is led by the Spirit of God (Roman 8:14)
- you received the Spirit of Sonship and by the Spirit you cry , "Abba, Father" (Roman 8:15)
- you are heir and co-heir with Christ (Roman 8:17)
- you are righteous in Christ (2 Corinthian 5:21), not your own righteousness, but HIS righteousness. You become God's righteousness not by what you did or will ever do, but from the finish work of Jesus Christ at the cross.
If nothing else, at least remember this verse from Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT)
"Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor forsake you."or as in Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."