The Love of God

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God has taught us to “be joyful always” and “give thanks in all circumstances.” The reason why we should be joyful always and give thanks in all circumstances, despite the reality that our society becomes bleak as the times change and things develop, is because God loves us endlessly without forsaking us, sinners, and renews us every day by cleaning us from our sins and transgressions.

There are people who do not feel joyful or thankful even though they are living a life of faith, and there are those who feel greatly joyful even for small things and give thanks for everything. What causes this difference between them is whether or not they understand God’s love. It must be so hard for those who do not understand the love of God to give thanks in all circumstances. On the other hand, it is so natural and easy for those who understand God’s love to be joyful always and give thanks in all circumstances.

God always walks with us

How many people has God sent to lead us to the kingdom of heaven? In fact, all those whom we have met in our lives are messengers sent by God to test or help us, although we have not noticed this fact.

Since we received the truth of salvation, we have come to understand the love of God little by little through God’s words while living a life of faith and have also come to love God. Now we think of God more often than before and give thanks for God’s grace. However, while we think of God only for a few moments out of 24 hours in a day, God does not forget us even for a moment and protects us with infinite love and care.

When I visited a local Church in the United States, I saw a poem titled “Footprints in the Sand” hanging on the wall. This is the story of the poem.

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with God. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. In each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to God.

When he looked back at the footprints in the sand, he noticed that there was only one set of footprints during the hardest times in his life. So he complained to God.

“God, why did you walk beside me and help me when the path was smooth and easy, but when the road was rocky and I needed your help so badly, you left me and made me walk it alone? Why did you leave me in the troubled times of my life?”

Then God said.

“I never left you, but always walked with you. I walked beside you when the path was smooth and easy, but during your times of trial and suffering, when you could see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you. Those footsteps you saw when you were going through hard times are mine, not yours.”

Through this poem, we can understand that God’s love is great beyond our comprehension; although we love God, our love cannot compare to God’s unconditional love for us. God’s love can hardly be measured or understood by human thought. So, we should ask God for help all the more and try harder to fathom the width, length, height and depth of God’s love (Eph 3:18–19).

God demonstrated His love for us through death

Human love is selfish in nature; it is self-seeking. However, God’s love is perfect; it does not seek anything in return.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope . . . because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! . . . Ro 5:3–11

God demonstrated His love for us, spiritual prisoners on death row, by how he died on the cross for us, being whipped and pierced and shedding His blood. This is why the Bible defines God as love.

Just as the life span of human beings is limited, so their love is limited, not eternal. No matter how deeply a couple love each other, they sometimes get into a quarrel that may lead to a break-up; and however close and affectionate the relationship between a parent and a child may be, their love can grow cold according to the circumstances. Thus, human love is conditional, and that is why it cannot be eternal.

However, God’s love is unconditional. God has chosen us without any conditions—regardless of whether we are rich or poor, free or slave. He also leads us to the way of heaven, always walking with us—especially in our times of trial and suffering—and helping us through all the hard times, until we go back to the eternal kingdom of heaven.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 Jn 4:7–11

God demonstrated His love for us through His death, and we are now receiving the holy love of God. If we have realized God’s grace, we should learn the love of God and put it into practice. Just as God has loved us, we also ought to love one another and try our hardest to lead souls around us into the love of God.

The love of God that is with us always, until the end of the world

Many people say as if their love would last forever. However, there is no one who can stay with us till the end of time. No matter how devoted a man is to his or her parents, and no matter how affectionate a parent is to his or her children, their love cannot be eternal and they can’t be with them till the end.

Only God can love us forever, and He has promised to be with us always, to the very end of the age.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mt 28:18–20

Like this, God is unchangeable and constant in His love for us; God’s love cannot be compared to human love. And God has even promised the eternal kingdom of heaven to us. So, there is no reason for us not to be joyful or thankful.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Th 5:16–18

The foundation of our joy in our life of faith is our Heavenly Father and Mother’s constant love for us. People in the world have no hope, so they feel a sense of sadness when they are weak and sick and as they grow older. For those who have neither met God nor received the promise of the kingdom of heaven, getting older means going toward eternal destruction. That is why they cannot help but feel sad and hopeless. They also get easily offended by people around them and often pour out their complaints.

However, for God’s people who have received the promise of the kingdom of heaven, getting older means getting closer to the day when they go back to heaven. How joyful it is! We have received the truth and have met our Heavenly Father and Mother. Moreover, Father and Mother have promised us the eternal kingdom of heaven. Believing in Father and Mother brings us such great joy and happiness.

The world does not care about us, but God gives us endless love and care. The world treats us with contempt and persecutes us, but our Father and Mother value and exalt us above anyone or anything else in this world. This is why we should always give thanks and glory to God.

God judges those who grumble and complain

Because of our lack of faith, sometimes we do not understand the endless love of God but misunderstand it. However, we must not forget that God carries us in and through all our trouble and struggles, always walking with us. When we do not understand the love of God, we come to grumble and complain; and when we understand God’s love, we can be joyful and grateful.

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Jas 5:7–10

We should not forget the grace of God who protects us from many disasters, misfortunes and trials. If we forget God’s grace, our hearts become filled with complaints; we come to grumble even about small things, and we will be judged in the end. Since the Bible says that those who grumble will be judged, we should keep in mind that grumbling is not a small sin.

We are going back to the everlasting kingdom of heaven. So, let us have put more faith and hope in heaven, thinking of God who was even willing to give up His life for our salvation.

Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were . . . And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 1 Co 10:5–12

Throughout all ages, the people without understanding have grumbled against God, as the Israelites did. They want to go to heaven while setting their minds on earthly things. This ambivalent and paradoxical attitude leads them to complain. God tells us to set our minds on things above—to think of the heavenly kingdom—and to give thanks in all circumstances. However, the disobedient people are bound up in the pursuit of their physical desires and they come to grumble against God even about trivial things.

Our purpose in living the life of faith with the fear of God is to enter the eternal kingdom of heaven, not to seek temporary, earthly blessings. The Bible advises us to follow the desires of the Holy Spirit, having a spiritual insight. Only then can we see the love of God and the kingdom of heaven and feel true happiness.

Overflow with thankfulness

As God’s children who have received the love of God, we too should put love into practice now. Beginning at home, let us think about what we can do for each other—wives for husbands, and husbands for wives—instead of just wanting something from each other. Children should care for their parents, thinking about how to please them, and parents should do the same for their children. When we care for others instead of seeking our own good, we can be said to have the heart of God.

If God had only been concerned about Himself, there would have been no reason for Him to come to this earth. Imitating the heart of God who cared for us and came to this earth, we too should care for each other with love—wives for their husbands, husbands for their wives, children for their parents, and parents for their children. When we learn the love of God and put it into practice, there will be nothing to complain about in this world, and we will realize that all our hardships and difficulties are necessary and unavoidable on our journey to heaven.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love . . . And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:13–17

In fact, everything that happens to us is something to be thankful for. Let us not grumble but give thanks in all circumstances. We should be overflowing with gratitude to our Elohim for all Their grace—for allowing us to remain in Them, for giving us the right to go to the kingdom of heaven, for being our Father and Mother, for connecting us as brothers and sisters, and for preserving this precious truth—the new covenant—and delivering it to us.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col 2:6–7

I once heard a story of the family of a pastoral staff, and it moved me a lot: His parents opposed his faith when they did not know the truth, but since they realized the truth, they have been living the life of faith fervently, saying that they don’t know why they rejected him before. Although they are advanced in age, they do not want to receive care and concern from their son, but instead they just keep saying to him, “Since you’ve just started out in the ministry, don’t worry about us but concentrate all the more on God’s work.” Even though they received the truth belatedly, they seem to have a deep understanding.

Without realizing the love of Father and Mother, we cannot have perfect faith. Since God is love, how can we say that we know God without understanding God’s love? The book of Revelation describes the scene where the twenty-four elders cast their crowns down to the feet of God and give all glory to God. They do this because they have realized God’s deep love for His children (Rev 4:9–11).

This earth is the city of refuge—a spiritual prison for those who sinned in heaven and were expelled from it. There is no one who feels comfortable in prison. Everyone living on this earth has to carry their own load. And when they finish their life on this earth, they will be judged and punished eternally. As for us, however, we have the promise of the kingdom of heaven, eternal life and salvation, the rewards that we will receive for our efforts on this earth, the title of the “royal priesthood,” and God’s love that is with us forever. This is why we, God’s children, should give thanks in all circumstances.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. Eph 5:1–4

As God has taught us through the Bible, let us give thanks and glory to God at all times, even when we say a word. Then God will grant us more and more things to be grateful for.

When we practice giving thanks to God, starting in our home and church, we can complete the task of saving the world quickly. As God’s children, let us shine the light of God more brightly with gratitude in this world full of complaints, and preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven to the whole world by proclaiming the love of Father and Mother to as many people as possible.

We are all part of the heavenly family. God is our spiritual Father and Mother. They love us forever and protect us as the apple of Their eye. So, as members of the heavenly family, let us not forget the love of God, even for a moment, but firmly believe and trust in God’s love, so that we can all enter the eternal kingdom of heaven.