Here’s The Only Way To Begin To Love

Date: October 12, 2020

Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | This is love:  not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  1 John 4:10-11

The greatest rivers in the world usually begin on the cold, frozen slopes of high mountains as the sun begins to melt snow and ice, and from the trickle of crystal-clear water a steam begins to flow and eventually a cascade of water plummets down the mountain.  In the valley far below, the stream becomes a river, then a great river which we call the Nile, the Amazon, the Ganges, the Rhine, or whatever.  By the time these massive bodies of water reach the ocean, they may be kilometers wide, but they are filthy, muddy, and grossly polluted.

Now, apply that same concept to the biblical truth that God is love.  John tells us this in the New Testament, and the farther we are from Him, seemingly the more polluted is love.  By the time it has been filtered through human lust, what we call love is a far cry from the compelling love which caused God to send His Son long ago.

Love is not a platitude, it is an action, an unconditional commitment to care, a decision of the heart.  True, it is what the world needs.  The words of a song popular a generation ago said it all.  “The world is dying, dying for a little bit of love,” says one verse.

If you have followed this series based on Paul’s great chapter on love, found in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 13, you have focused on love’s characteristics, but any discussion of the subject would be incomplete without a few words of encouragement for you whose river of love has either evaporated in the desert of life, or else become so polluted that you hardly know what it is.

When God touches your heart, your life changes, God takes up residence in your life, and the mud and filth of sin is washed away.  When the pollution of sin is eliminated, you begin to love.  This is the miracle of conversion.  It is the answer to the lovelessness and the selfishness which destroys marriages, homes and relationships.

Joining a church, turning over a new leaf, going to confession, “being religious,” isn’t the solution.  A relationship with God through His son is the only way you will really begin to love.  “OK,” you say, “I admit that something is wrong.  How does this change in my life come about?”

Three simple but very difficult steps can make the difference.

Guideline #1:  Acknowledge that you need a relationship with God and confess that sin has stopped the flow of love in your life.  It’s easy to point a finger and say, “It was his fault.”  The solution is saying, “God, I need you.  Forgive me and touch my life.”

Guideline #2:  Ask God’s forgiveness for your failure and invite Him to be your Lord and Savior.  Jesus gave us a promise of help.  Here it is: “Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).  That promise has your name on it.  Possibly you haven’t prayed for a long time, but you can say something like, “Lord, I do want you in my life.  I want you to turn my indifference into love.  Help me to love as you love me.”

Guideline #3:  Begin loving in simple steps, one day at a time.  When you fail and fall back into old habits and a loveless way, quickly admit your wrong and ask God’s help in overcoming.

You can talk about love until you have calluses on your vocal cords and wind erosion on your teeth, but until you go back to the fountain and the source of love, God Himself, you’ll never lay hold of the real thing.  Go back to the source.  It’s the only way to fill your cup and have enough left over for someone else in your life.

Resource reading: 1 John 4:1-21