Filled With Love: Experiencing Our Heavenly Father, Part 2

by | Apr 4, 2020 | Experiencing Our Heavenly Father, Love

Do you feel love when you enter a church?

We did. We were welcomed with open arms in several small churches in our recent visit to Australia. The members talked to us as if we were long-lost friends. Love was obviously their norm, and we left with the impression that they would have given their lives for us, total strangers.

These churches are definitely following Jesus’ command: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35, NIV)

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. So many of us come away from church feeling alone and every bit as isolated as when we entered. Oh, someone may shake your hand, but these are appointed greeters, and it is done out of duty, not out of love.

Or perhaps worse, there is no one to greet you at all…

I have noticed that after services, many are alone with no one coming to talk to them. I have even seen people leave the service before the end so that they wouldn’t have to face the lonesomeness of no one speaking to them after church.

How sad! Where is Jesus’ love in this? Not only does this not follow Jesus’ command, but it also does not follow the example left for us in the early church. Consider the following text: “So we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” (1 Thessalonians 2:8 NIV)

Isn’t this amazing? Paul was willing to not only share the gospel, but also to share his life as well! This is love, real love! He is part of the church and he shows it!

Is your pastor willing to share his life? If he is not available, how can you know? So many are puffed up with knowledge, yet they ignore the most important: Love genuinely anyone you meet: “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9 NIV)

I do not wish to point the finger only at pastors, however. Even the most caring, social pastor can only shake so many hands after a service. He or she can only visit so many people during the week. He or she can only make so many phone calls, because he/she is, after all, only one person. It is the responsibility of each member to show genuine love. Not just because we are appointed to be greeters, but because we care. If we cannot follow on the footsteps of Jesus, we are missing the boat completely. Our life is nothing if we think solely to ourselves. Sharing our lives with others will show we love like Jesus did.

Remember: “Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” (1 Corinthians 8:1, NIV)

We are here for love, to encourage one another, to help people. We are here to…Be like Jesus! Consider His example:

“It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1 NIV)

Are we ready to give our lives for others? Are we willing? This is the question… “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.” (Ephesians 5:1, NIV)

“You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9 NIV)

“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16 NIV)

One time I went with my family to an all-black church in Nassau, Bahamas. We were the only ones there with white skin. In all, the love in that church was vibrant and contagious. In a moment we made friends. Love was the norm. There was no way we could ever enter or leave that church without someone noticing. In fact, the following day at the Straw Market, one of the vendors looked at us quizzically and asked, “Didn’t I see you in church yesterday?”

In New York City there is a church that is vibrant as well. I have never attended this church, but it is something I would like to do. I have heard that newcomers are welcomed with hugs from anyone in the church. Love is vibrant. It doesn’t matter the color of your skin. Everyone shows genuine love, the love that Jesus has shown to us, despite the fact that many of the members are from very rough backgrounds, with some even having been thieves and murderers. They are true examples of Jesus’ life-changing power.

Love is irresistible. It will stay with us for the rest of our lives. If your church is lukewarm, stand up and follow Jesus. Start loving others. Through His ultimate example, even your church will change. It may take some time, but change will happen, for what we do for Jesus always makes a kingdom difference. We have a choice: We can continue to be couch (or pew?) Potatoes, or we can become vibrant for Jesus. It all starts with one person showing love, and that one person can be…YOU!

Rob Chaffart

(To access the entire “Experiencing Our Heavenly Father” devotional series, please click here.)


Filled With Love: Experiencing Our Heavenly Father, Part 2