By Gisela Yohannan
Before I started writing this letter to you, I opened my Bible and read the Christmas story in Luke 2 . . . Each time we celebrate the birth of Jesus our Savior, we are reminded afresh of the amazing love God has for this world and for each one of us. I would like to encourage you to take time this Christmas to learn more about God’s love, which is the very reason for our salvation.
The Bible tells us that the living God not only loves us, but that He is love.
“And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love . . .” (1 John 4:16).
This means God is not only capable of showing love, but His very nature is love.
Let me explain. A bird, for example, grows feathers, flies through the air, builds a nest, lays eggs and eats seeds. Why does he do all these things? He does it because he has a bird-nature, and these things are normal and consistent with what he is.
God’s love toward us will never change because His nature is unchanging:
“For I, the Lord, do not change” (Malachi 3:6).
The level of friendship and human love people extend to each other is for the most part based on performance or temporary affection. If circumstances change or we act contrary to others’ expectations, they are disappointed and their love and interest in us diminish or cease altogether. We often fear to lose the love of those around us after saying or doing something they don’t like or when we fail an exam, don’t get the job we applied for or earn the money they expected.
Likewise, many believers assume God’s love toward them depends on their flawless performance as Christians. Each time they fall short, they feel God is disappointed with them and therefore loves them less. In order to earn God’s love back, they try to work harder on being good enough to deserve it.
I have known parents who tell a child, “If you are not nice to your brother or don’t do your homework, God doesn’t love you. He only loves good children.” Nothing could be further from the truth! Our performances, failures or successes do not influence God’s love toward us. Neither does anything else we may encounter. His love remains the same for all eternity, because God Himself never changes.
The apostle Paul wrote about this subject:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38–39).
We get to know the heart of our heavenly Father when we study what the Bible tells us about divine love:
Because God is love, these verses are actually a detailed description of Himself. I encourage you to read them once more by exchanging the word “love” with “my heavenly Father” or “Jesus.” The more we know our God, the more we will enjoy His presence, because “there is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18). We truly are the most privileged people on the face of the earth.
Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4–8)
Did you know that when you became a child of God you received His love-nature?
. . . in order that by them [His promises] you might become partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5).
God’s wonderful and amazing love has been given to us because we became part of His family. And that love sets us apart from the rest of this world and is our mark of recognition as Christians:
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
I believe the Lord wants us to use the love He has given us to share the Good News with all those who need a Savior—this Christmas and throughout the coming year.
. . . I wish you God’s wonderful peace and His joy as you celebrate Christmas and enter a new year of service to the King of kings.
Excerpted from Dear Sister by Gisela Yohannan. Copyright © 2006 by Gisela Yohannan. (Carrollton, TX: GFA Books). The book Dear Sister is a collection of letters written by Gisela Yohannan to those serving the Lord on the mission field and around the world. Each letter represents a part of her own journey with the Lord and a lesson He taught her in her own life.
Gisela Yohannan serves the Lord along with her husband, Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan, who is the founder and director of Gospel for Asia. She is the author of four well-known books: Broken for a Purpose, Consider Your Call, Dear Sister and Let Me Walk With You. Gisela’s life and commitment to the Lord are a challenge and encouragement to many.
Learn more about Gisela Yohannan.
Click here, to read more articles on Patheos by Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan.