Augustine wrote: ‘The single desire that dominated my search for delight was simply to love and to be loved.’
Nothing warms the heart of parents more than to hear their children or grandchildren voluntarily say, “I love you.” And God wants the same thing from us. God wants us to voluntarily love Him because we choose to, not because we have to.
We need to understand that God did not create evil, but He did create us with the ability to choose. And a lot of the things we call evil in this world are brought on by human beings who make wrong choices because they disregard what God says.
When God created Adam and Eve, He placed them in a veritable paradise and gave them the ability to choose, that special quality God gives us where we can decide to do what is right or wrong. It is amazing to me that as Adam and Eve were in Eden with presumably hundreds, maybe thousands of trees to choose from, we find them hanging around the one tree that God told them was off-limits (see Genesis 3).
Yet, this is so like us. If you don’t believe me, then try it out on some kids. Just say, “Whatever you do, don’t go into that room.” The moment you turn away, you know exactly where they will be.
So we can choose to love God, or we can choose not to love God. He has given us that choice. If you were to say to your child, “Say you love me, or I will throw you out and never give you another meal again,” what kind of love would that be? Or if you were to buy a doll with a computer chip that is programmed to say, “I love you” at the touch of a button, how fulfilling would it be to hear those words?
God wants us to love Him because we choose to, but we can also only love him, because he first loved us. Everything we have learned in this series relies on us having a personal relationship with God.
It is here we are going to conclude our series on Faith, Hope and Love, these words appear throughout scripture time and time together. “We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel.” (Colossians 1:3-5). “We give thanks to God always for all of you,… constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3).
Just like the Spiritual Gifts we seen in our last series, Faith, Hope and Love are gifts which God gives to his church. His love for us is truly amazing.