The love of God is more than enough to satisfy the deepest longing and hunger of the human heart! A cry rises unabated within the church today for “more”. But what “more” do we want?
Is the Christian church of North America occupied by “spiritual” consumerism or is this plea for “more” birthed from a completely different source?
Giver or Taker
There is within every believer the competing agendas of giver and taker. Inherent personal needs demand to be satisfied; while godly desire delights to confer on others.
Peter and John came upon a lame beggar. His hand stretched toward them expecting support.
“Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have,
but what I do have I give you.
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
Peter offers him much more than an hand out! Grasping the man firmly, he offers a hand up!
“Taking him by the hand,
he helped him up and
instantly the man’s feet and ankles
Offering money rather than messy love would have been easier! Tangibly reaching others is far more costly than parting with pocket coins. Love costs! Sometimes deeply!
This was but one cry among a multitude of other voices. Meeting this man’s unspoken need, God gave “more”.
A Different Cry
The cry among North American Christians contradicts the voice surging Godward from many other nations.
“We love You, Lord!” is the anthem heard in the developing world. Whereas, the prayerful expression in North America calls, “We want more, Lord!”
One day the unified voice from every nation, tribe and tongue will speak,
“And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood
you purchased for God persons
from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
People from nations far and near lift a song of love and exaltation without contradiction before God’s throne!
I Love You
“Love” in the English language expresses multiple meanings!
- “I love you, Grandma” might mean “I want another cookie”, or “take me to the park”.
- “I love you” could be the manipulative voice from someone refusing the commitment of marriage but desiring the benefits.
- One might even feel the pressure to say “I love you” out of obligation.
Unfortunately, we use the same word, “love”, for ice cream, animals, and sunsets, as we do for the deepest, most intimate relationships. No wonder confusion exists!
Beyond a doubt, the one thing this world needs more of is love — genuine love that comes only from God!
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another,
for love comes from God.
Anyone who loves
is a child of God and knows God.
But anyone who does not love
does not know God, for God is love.
God showed how much he loved us
by sending his one and only Son into the world
so that we might have eternal life through him.
This is real love—not that we loved God,
but that he loved us
and sent his Son as a sacrifice
to take away our sins.
Dear friends, since God loved us that much,
we surely ought to love each other.”
1 John 4:7-11
John, “the beloved”, understood! Such knowledge left him crying, “More, Lord, more!”
“Vines Expository Dictionary” explains the differences in the biblical Greek words for love.
“Agapao” describes the attitude of God toward His Son, humanity, and those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It also includes God’s desire concerning our attitude toward each other.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God and others are to be the primary recipients of this love that moves beyond impulse or feelings! This love runs contrary to natural inclinations — never self-seeking. Originating from God, it does not spend itself only upon those who will reciprocate.
“Agapao” love values, esteems and serves!
“Phileo” represents tender affection between Father God, His Son Jesus, and believers. “Phileo” specifically demonstrated a love Christ had for His disciple, John. This love displays friendship and affection.
“No, the Father himself loves you
because you have loved me
and have believed that I came from God.”
“Storge” used as part of a compound word with “phileo” refers mainly to the love between parents and their children.
“Be devoted to one another in love.
Honor one another above yourselves.”
River of Love
Neil Bigpond shares about a visit with his sick mother. “I love you,” were the first words she spoke to her son. Immediately, he affirmed his mutual love for her.
“Nin-zo-de-tow-yoot,” she corrected, explaining the meaning of the Yuchi word for love:
“You are like a river that brings me life.
Without you I cannot exist!”
“Nin-zo-de-tow-yoot” far surpasses, “I love you”! The Yuchi perfectly capture the deep essence both of God’s love for us and also what He desires us to emulate.
God’s love flows like a river from the depth of His very nature — an unfailing spring, rich and deep, filled with mercy and grace! Without it, truly, we cannot exist!
“Anyone who believes in me
may come and drink!
For the Scriptures declare,
‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'”
God fills us with his love empowering us to be
channels to others.
We gratefully immerse ourselves in the river of God’s love! Spiritual consumerism, however, has potential to warp such an extravagant flow of love when we want more from God than we are prepared to extend to others!
More Lord, More!
God’s river of love flows in unprecedented proportions in our day! All over the world, God is revealing Himself through supernatural encounters with “the Man in white”, dreams and vision, signs and wonder, healing and miracles!
Too easily we become captivated by the visible and miss the essential!
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength…
Love your neighbour as yourself…”
Don’t get me wrong! God’s gracious outpouring upon this generation is humbling to say the least.
But does the church cry for more displays of God’s power? Are we focusing on the power of God or on the God of power?
Or is there a genuine cry rising, “More Lord, more! May we be vessels of more love for You and others!”
Are we focused on God’s heart, or looking to what His hand will give? Hymn writer Francis Brook says it well,
“My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God…”
Has the church in the developed world developed an unhealthy craving for more? Or is she struggling to articulate a deep longing for more of the God we love?
No matter where we live, may we be drawn into the pure wonder — the amazing opportunity — to love God and others!
“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19
“We love You, Lord! We want more!”