God’s Love Changes Us
God’s love is defined as agape love, a sacrificial love that was demonstrated when Jesus took our sins to the Cross. Agape love is an unconditional love that transcends and persists regardless of circumstance. It is the highest form of love and we are created to have this love in our hearts.
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)
God is molding us to conform to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29) and to have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and we cannot be Christ-like without agape love filling our hearts.
Filling our Hearts with God’s Love
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
You can see God’s agape love in action all throughout the bible, but especially in the Crucifixion. God sent his only Son to die on a cross as punishment for our sins. Understanding the magnitude of that love inspires us to demonstrate that love to those around us, and kickstarts our spiritual growth.
Filling our hearts with agape love is a process that never ends. As we serve the Lord reflecting his love to others, he continues to increase the love in our hearts.
When I first surrendered my life to the Lord at the age of 59, I realized that my heart had very little agape unconditional love. I prayed that the Lord would fill my heart with his love, and he immediately opened the doors to teach weekly bible classes at a residential house for men recovering from alcohol and drugs, and to teach a weekly Bible class at the local prison. After a few weeks of teaching, the focus of my life started shifting from myself to God and others, because God was pouring his love through the Spirit into my heart. Now, at the age of 75, and still teaching, God’s love has grown in my heart – for my family, for my brother and sisters in the church, for those I teach, and for all mankind, including my enemies.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
When we realize that God is God and we are his servants, we pray for whatever the Spirit places on our hearts. We continually pray, but we leave the answer and timing in the hands of God, as we continue to serve him. This is the faith that pleases God – to totally trust him, and to walk as his servant, as his friend.
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15). These are the words Jesus spoke to his apostles and he speaks these words to us, we are friends of God.
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4). Christ ministers to the world through us, just as the Father ministered to the world through Jesus.
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:3). We minister to the world as Christ speaks to us through the Spirit and places his thoughts in our minds.
By walking in faith and allowing Christ to minister through us, we adequately serve the Lord and he delights in filling us with his love because we have hearts that reflect his love to the world.
How God’s Love Changes Us
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7-21)
If we reflect God’s love to others our hearts are filled with love and we know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8) The love we have in our hearts exists because of God’s perfect love.
The more we draw close to the Lord, the more Christ-like we become, and now our life is centered on Christ, serving him by being a light for God’s Truth in this world. We now serve the Lord with a heart of love because we care about lost souls and we begin to see people as God sees people, with love and compassion. We look past their appearance and we look into their hearts. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7).
When we place God and others first, the Lord places us first and takes care of us. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33) We trust the Lord to provide for our worldly needs as he guides us through life. Our faith enables us to serve him and we are free of worry about our worldly needs.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. (1 John 4:18)
One of the greatest blessings of having our hearts filled with God’s love is that fear from Satan greatly decreases. With faith, confidence in the Lord, a heart filled with his love, and living as his servant, we know Heaven is our home, and fear from Satan simply diminishes. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10)
When we experience salvation, we live in the image of God’s Son, the way he originally created us to live. This is the most fulfilling life a person can live, because this life comes from God. I know, because I lived 59 years with great success in this world but, when I came to Christ, the next 16 years were more fulfilling than I could have ever dreamed.
The Apostle Paul describes how Christ is all-fulfilling. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8) Paul gave up the good life as a Pharisee and lived a very difficult life for Christ. Nothing in the world compares to knowing Christ.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) We have become a new creation with our hearts filled with God’s love, and we see the world through the eyes of God. Our soul is fulfilled and content from God through the Spirit which means there is no need to search for fulfillment in the world. This is a blessing that allows us to truly live life as God intended. True Christians are the most content people on the planet.
The closer we are to the Lord, the more we are in the Spirit, because it is the Spirit that connects us to Christ. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) The more love in our hearts the more we experience the fruit of the Spirit and the more Christ-like we become.
Christians with their hearts filled with God’s love are close to the Lord, filled with peace and joy, serve the Lord driven by love, do not live in Satan’s fear, and know Heaven is their home. They enjoy life and patiently wait for our eternal home in Heaven.
We learn about who we are in Christ by reading the bible. As we understand more, the commands become a natural response to God’s perfect love. Love is the foundation of the Christian life.