Everything grows by love!
I recommend a short prayer to you…
Lord Jesus, your word says for us not to worry or be anxious about anything, but in all things make our request known unto you. I (we) do that today Jesus. I (we) ask that you, in only the way you can, address the issue of fatherlessness in our nation.
“Everything grows by love” is a statement Jesus said to me shortly after becoming a believer. The statement is short but packed with eternal truth that is of utmost importance to you and I today.
It’s important to note here that the type of love Jesus mentioned is not the type of love you have for your favorite sports team or your favorite pet. It’s not the love you have for your husband or your wife…when they’re acting right. The type of love mentioned above ONLY comes from God Himself and we can only walk in it when we are saved, filled with the Holy Spirit of God and are being led and directed by the Holy Spirit. This is the ONLY type of love I’m referring to in this post.
Recently I’ve been talking to the Lord a lot about the possibility of Him using me in some way to build up youth. I’m referring to youth who have grown up without fathers or have fathers that aren’t or can’t love them unconditionally. This desire burns deep inside me because I know intimately the results of children growing up without the God ordained unconditional love of a father.
My mom and dad divorced when I was 2 years old. My dad was faithful at paying child support and picking up my sister and I every weekend; so we could spend that time with him. He NEVER missed a weekend. Yet I still had a hole as big as the grand cannon in my heart that was meant to be partially filled with the unconditional love of a earthly mother and father…until I grew to have my own relationship with God where the remainder of the hole could only be filled by Jesus Himself.
So the question is, with money not being the issue and consistency not being the issue, what is your problem Dwight? Many children didn’t or don’t have a father at all, and you’re complaining!
All I ask is that if you’re reading this, you read it until the end. I promise, it’ll all make sense.
The challenge with my dad, is that he was not loved unconditionally by his father when he was young. So although he did what he was capable of doing, it wasn’t the unconditional love necessary for me to grow from a boy, into a healthy teenager and then on to a productive man. So the fall out went like this, my dad wasn’t loved unconditionally, so he had no model to follow to love me unconditionally. As a result, I grew up…messed up. To say it a different way, there were areas of my life were I remained undernourished and immature. Take a look at this list and ask yourself does some or all of these apply to you as well.
- Disrespect for authority = Jail time in Cook County, drug addiction, kicked out of my mom’s house and sent to my dad’s house…who also kicked me out.
- No sense of identity = Spent countless hours trying to fit in, never quite achieving that goal
- Abandonment = Which caused me to manipulate people in an attempt to prevent them from abandoning me; so I thought. This didn’t work out either.
- Unwillingness to be corrected, even when I was obviously wrong = Stunted growth and maturity
- Anger/Rage = Inability to handle adverse situations reasonably
- Disrespect for women = No positive image to imitate when it came to engaging woman, so I learned from my friends, watching tv, etc…
Now, if this list appears to be a long list of things I’m blaming on my biological father, you have missed the point, so let me take the time to clarify.
God has designed a specific structure and order for the family unit. You can find this order in I Corinthians 11:3. God’s original intent was for every child to grow as the direct result of the unconditional love of a father and a mother. The love of brothers and sisters is optional…just kidding. Any departure away from this Divine Order always results in some form of damage to the child.
According to a recent statistic, 72% of children, in predominately African American communities, are growing up without fathers. I’m not going to quote any source relative to this statistic, because the polls never tell the whole story. Like how many of that 72% actually do have strong father figures involved in their lives, for example. At any rate, there’s a serious problem and if you deny this fact, you’re simply hiding your head in the sand.
I’m going to list some scripture versus from the Word of God. I recommend you take a moment and read them carefully.
- And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him 1 John 4:16 (NIV)
- We love because he first loved us 1 John 4:19 (NIV)
- And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother 1 John 4:21 (NIV)
- Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)
- Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other 1 Thessalonians 4:9 (NIV)
- Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up Corinthians 8:1 (NIV)
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love… Galatians 5:22 (NIV)
- Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you Luke 6:38 (NIV)
- If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching John 14:23-24 (NIV)
The passages I chose are self-explanatory and although I could complicate them with endless technical language, that’s not the goal. I have one objective, share with you the fact that without being loved unconditionally, you and I are in serious need of the God kind of unconditional love. This is the motivation behind this post.
Okay Dwight, I know I need love, but how do I go about getting it. I am so glad you asked…or at least thought it to yourself as you read. Please pay close attention to the passage of scripture I’m about to share.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets Matthew 7:12 (NIV)
Before I make mention of the passage of scripture above, please re-read Matthew 22:37-40. Please notice that Jesus is teaching the disciples the most powerful truth they will ever learn and that you and I need to know right now in this moment. In the passage above, Jesus teaches the disciples exactly how they should treat people. Please notice Jesus does not specify which people, and He makes it clear that this life style is to be applied in EVERY area of life. Please also notice that the commandment is NOT to treat people the way you are BEING treated, but treat people the way you WANT to be treated. This is a very important point. You know how you want to be treated, then as a believer in Jesus Christ, that is the formula for how you are to treat others.
Now let me answer your question about how to get love. The answer is so simple you might miss it, if you’re not careful. Jesus says this, in the Kingdom of God you get by giving. Don’t miss it. I’ll say it again, you get by giving. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, if I were loved a little better by the people in my life, it would be easy for me to love others. To the natural mind that’s a reasonable conclusion. However, I want to remind you again of the passages I included above Luke 6:38 and 1 Thessalonians 4:9 (NIV). So although it sounds like a reasonable conclusion, it’s not how God designed it to work. Remember, the type of love I’m talking about is the type of love that ONLY comes from God. So while you may think you need love from other people, let me warn you right now, before you get very very very disappointed. Only God Himself can give you the unconditional love you need to obey the two most important commands; according to the words of Jesus himself.
Of course, people can love us as well, but always remember this. Unless the person loving us is walking in the mature unconditional love that ONLY God could give them, their love toward you is the product of how they were loved, or not loved, by others.
Here’s how this all works. When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, immediately, the unconditional love of God is given to you. However, because you have not matured in your walk with God, in order for you to fully realize that this love has been given to you, you are required to love God in return. Remember, this is very simple, how do we love God in return! By keeping and obeying what Jesus teaches you, you are demonstrating love for God. As you do this, you mature in your awareness of the unconditional love God has already given you. Then you begin to mature in your ability to turn around and give that same unconditional love to those around you.
Now we get to the meat of this post. I started by sharing a deep desire I have for Jesus to use me to encourage youth who do not know the unconditional love of God. The only way for any of us to love unconditionally is we first must know the unconditional love of God ourselves. It’s not possible for anyone to give the unconditional love that the youth of our day need, without it being given to them first. Don’t believe me, just try loving a rebellious, disrespectful, hopeless, etc…person in your own strength. You’ll probably be alright for the first couple of encounters, but it won’t last.
It’s clear from the passages I’ve shared in this post that believers are commanded to demonstrate unconditional love to others while letting Jesus sort out the details. My encouragement to you is that Jesus can give you the unconditional love you so long for in the deepest part of your soul. If you reach out to Him and ask Him to give you this kind of love, I promise you, He will. How do I know this you say. I’m glad you asked…or at least thought of asking as you read.
Remember that list of horrible circumstances I listed above? Well, during an all night prayer shut-in at the ministry I attend, I actually heard Jesus tell me, I LOVE YOU SON!!! Listen to me when I tell you this, that moment was THE defining moment in my walk with Jesus. At that very moment, the hole in my soul, that I mentioned earlier, was filled and even overflowed with the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. I have never been the same since that day and I’m even able to confidently demonstrate that same unconditional love to people I know and people I don’t know; by the power of the Holy Spirit.
You can know this complete and fulfilling unconditional love as well, just ask Jesus to give it to you. Then Jesus can use us to invest unconditional love in the countless boys and girls that are growing up without knowing the unconditional love of a father.
I’ll share one final passage of scripture with you.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world James 1:27 (NIV)
I recommend a short prayer to you…
Lord Jesus, after reading this post, I know I need your unconditional love. Please give me your love so I can love others the same way you love me.