The greatest Christian life will be lived closest to Christ, loving Him most, and thereby loving others most. To understand Christ and His love, we must first comprehend what He says in Isaiah 55:9:
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
How does this apply to getting close to the Lord and loving Him? First, the love of God is not like human love; it is much higher. Our definitions for all of the characteristics of God will be shallow at best if we fail to base them on His definitions as revealed in His Word. If we merely love God according to our definition of love, then we can actually be far from God’s love.
We have been covering how the very concept of the judgment of God is so skewed, even in believers, that it is almost all negative and fearful. Some of God’s judgments are negative and fearful, but most are greatly to be desired and are evidence of God’s love for us, as we are told in Hebrews 12 regarding His discipline. Many swing to the opposite extreme when perceiving the love of God and reduce it to what they perceive love to be.
Think about this: The twelve that Jesus called to be closest to Him were some pretty rough characters, and likely were not easily intimidated. They had been with Jesus for three and a half years, yet at “the last supper” they were still so intimidated by Him that they were afraid to ask Him a question, so they pressured John to ask Him. Jesus loved them so much that He was about to endure extreme torture for them, and yet He was still a very intimidating persona because He is God!
In Romans 11:22, Paul wrote that we must, “Behold now the kindness and the severity of God.” The immature, or those that Peter referred to as “unstable and untaught,” tend to think in extremes without being able to see the corresponding balance. Many can only see the kindness of God. These often pervert the grace of God by preaching a grace without judgment. Others can only see His severity and often only preach judgment without grace. Either of these distort the Scriptures, as Peter said “to their own destruction” (see 2 Peter 3:16).
As we have covered, there can be a great difference between human compassion and God’s compassion. God’s compassion sometimes comes in the form of the discipline that is called “the judgment of God.” Sometimes His compassion comes in the form of condemnation and the destruction of those who have become incorrigible and are corrupting many others.
One thing we can always be sure of is this: God is always just, and since He is love, all He does is done in love. We have problems understanding this sometimes because we are looking from an earthly, human, or temporary perspective instead of His eternal view, seeing the end from the beginning. To love Him is to also trust Him, trusting that His judgments are righteous and true even when we don’t understand them. That is basic faith.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|