Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series, where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand what it means to love divinely.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John, Chapter 13, Verses 12 and 13
Brothers and sisters, to love one another as Jesus loves us is to love divinely. This we are commanded to do, for this is eternal life, to receive the love of the heavenly Father through his Son, Jesus, and pass it on, one to another.
There is something in all of us that craves to be loved. This craving is both the presence of the Father, for God is love, as well as the pressure of this love to be activated and allowed to go forth to bathe the souls of our sisters and brothers. Often, not only do we have difficulty allowing this divine affection to flow through us, but we also express difficulty telling each other that we love them. Why can’’t we freely say that Jesus loves you, and I love you, too? Why should we be afraid to tell others that we love them?
Though the word love is our highest concept of respect and devotion, it has come to be frequently associated with so much in our relationships that is immoral and unfit to be known by the same word that indicates the incomparable affection the heavenly Father has for us.
I think that a lot of us have had experiences with love in its negative aspects, so much so that we shy away from not only using this word to describe our affections for each other, but have become leery of loving. And so we sit behind our wall of suspicion and distrust, not allowing anyone to come in or anything to go out. And we are miserable since we are literally emotionally and spiritually starving in the mist of plenty. There is love all around us, but we will not partake of it.
Why should we who are born into the world without any prior experience with love grow to become loveless and afraid of giving and receiving love, which we so surely desire and desperately need? If we could only trust the person who is giving this love to us, we would quickly regain our emotional and spiritual health. In order for us to reject something that we all recognize as being desirable, there must have been some point where we accepted it, and something happened to make us distrust those who say they loved us. Yes, something did happen. We were betrayed! We accepted the offered affection and found that it was not genuine. It became a nightmare of untold misery that colored our whole life after that point. When we say we love someone, we are opening ourselves up those who say they love us with our dearest hopes and longings and the satisfaction of our sense of emotional incompleteness. No wonder when our hopes and dreams are betrayed by those who say they love us, we become bitter. Before our encounter with love, we were trusting, open, and receptive. After our encounter, we became distrustful, closed and guarded.
We know the experience of loving is linked to the experience of being loved. But our experience has been one of heartbreak. We gave our hearts, and they were broken and given back to us, sometimes not even with the sentiment of regret. No "I am sorry is uttered to the crushed heart." We just move on further down the line, where we give as good as we get. We enter the cycle of breaking others’’ hearts and having our hearts broken. And each time we complete that cycle of heart break, our hearts become harder and harder until they are like a sponge that has been left out in the summer sun all day. There is not a drop of moisture to be found within it.
This being the situation, the problem is one of restoring trust. If we can restore trust, we can then love and be loved again. But how? We cannot do it with romantic feelings or with morality by itself. We dislike the word love because it transports us back into an emotional memory that is indistinguishable from pain and misery. Morality is a cold flame that will hold us together, but it holds without warming and therefore fails to provide the warmth that is needed for satisfaction.
Romantic feelings--while intense initially and pleasurable--fade very quickly, leaving both the recipient and the giver wondering what happened to those intense feelings that made the world stand still. The only solution for this lack of trust is divine love, and it has to bestowed with the motive of not having this love returned. Otherwise, the affection would be placed in the category of selfishness, for as long as we expect love to be returned from the recipient, we exercise patience. The problem with exercising patience is that there is a time period associated with the end of which we evaluate the effectiveness of our efforts.
We must resort to divine love. This divine love is like water in that it bathes all. This divine love is unselfish and actually contains our highest hopes and dreams. It is really the true affection that all other affections foreshadow. This love is the cure for distrust, loneliness, hopelessness, and dissatisfaction. This love is pure and never betrays. It always seeks the best for the one who is being loved. It is accepting and never rejecting. It respects the personality dignity of its bestowee. It never manipulates or seeks to take advantage of its charge. It is sensitive to the needs of the person it loves. It never allows its selfish needs to be satisfied at the price of the other person’’s needs. It is eternal and therefore does not have a time limit to its bestowal. This love is the desire to do good to others, and it is the presence of the heavenly Father.
To activate this love, we must allow it to flow through us. If by the grace of the Father we have somehow, someway become the recipient of it, we should understand that it bathes us even as it bathes someone else on the outside. But if we are dealing with a heart that is like a sponge that has been baked in the summer sun, our initial efforts will be the same as dropping water onto this sun-baked sponge. The loveless soul like the sun-baked sponge will initially reflect rather than absorb the water, but as we continue to bathe the person with love, gradually it begins to penetrate the pores of the person’’s heart. How will we know when the divine affection is getting through? It is like the dried sponge. When all the pores of the sponge have been filled with water, it begins to leak out, slowly at first, but eventually it pours out with the same force and volume that goes in. When divine love begins to flow through the heart of the person to some other person, then has divine love accomplished its mission.
And in such a one who has begun to allow divine love to flow through him, he has vanquished distrust, has acquired a satisfaction that is superb, that cannot be dampened by the ups and downs of mortal living. Such a one has acquired a vision of life that elevates his hopes and dreams. Such a one has torn down all walls that interfere with loving and being loved and no longer confuses the concepts of divine love with human love. Such a one is filled with unspeakable spiritual joy, a joy that sustains him during the down sides of life, no matter how long they last. Divine affection does not remove material difficulties or the emotional responses to them, but it does transcend them. It projects the eternal view, where all such temporal conditions cease to exist.
Such a one recognizes the limitations of human love and recognizes the imperfection of character in his brothers and sisters. And just as he would no more stop loving a helpless infant because he is unable to appreciate and respond to his loving efforts, he would no more stop loving his sisters and brothers because of their lack of appreciation for the divine affection.
These three words, "I love you," means so much, much more than can ever be understood. When such a one says "I love you," he means it in the highest sense of the word. Not only that, he displays it. And if there are other lower levels of affection called by the same name, this divine love up-steps them to new levels of grandeur. This divine love is true, beautiful, and good. It is trustworthy and never betrays. In the fullness of time, all are destined to succumb to this divine affection, for this divine affection is of God, the presence of the heavenly Father. And the Father always says, "I love you!"
This concludes today's message on understanding what it means to love divinely. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.