John 15:9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
In 1974 Minnie Riperton, pinned one of the greatest love songs known to man. The lyrics start so simple and to the point, “Lovin’ you is easy cause you’re beautiful.” I believe that she just may have taken those lyrics from Solomon; because in the 4th chapter of Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs), God speaks to us these words: “vs 7 You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Regardless of the origin of those words the power remains clear; Loving You is easy because You are beautiful. My question for us today is two-fold: What if loving me is not easy? What if I’m not Beautiful? Then can I not be loved? So Let’s Dive In….
I’m on my computer a great deal of the day and while working at home during this quarantine it becomes most of the day. I’m not sure if you’re like me, every time I open a new browser on Microsoft Edge, it sends me to a news page that rifles thru the day’s top stories. This is meant to be informative but is often more distracting than anything. It allows me to stay up on current events but can also take you down in the weeds of useless data. Like a couple of days ago when on the news feed a story popped up about a very well-known actress, acknowledging that she’s had an affair while her and her enormously famous husband were separated while trying to work on their marriage. My inquiring mind wanted to know what happened and, in the video, attached to the article the actress said something that resonated and caused me to question Minnie Riperton’s 1974 declaration. She said that she “could not find happiness outside of herself.” Which she later stated that she wanted to feel good and thought it could get it from that relationship.
This paralleled with a recent conversation with my wife; where she reminded me about how in rejecting your help, you reject yourself. Which is why I have conjectured that John, Minnie and Jada were on to something, Love is easy when you abide in the Lord’s Love and first learn to love yourself. There are three quick things I believe that we must all understand if we are going to be able to love ourselves and others the way Jesus shared in John chapter 15. We must:
- RESEARCH: Just How Much God Loves Jesus (As the Father loved Me). Research is the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. Therefore, we’d need develop a strategy on how we will determine God’s love for His Son. If we walk thru each book of the bible, we can see powerful ways in which God demonstrates His love for Jesus. We can see in Genesis thru the story of Abraham and his son Isaac, or Jacob and his Son’s Joseph & Benjamin witnessing their deep and passionate love for their sons. Or we could go to Exodus and see how God navigated the life of Moses (a type or symbol of Christ’s Leadership of the Church) to spare his life under tremendous attacks including rescuing him and all of the Israel from imminent death. Or how Leviticus meticulously detailed the designs and construction of the tabernacle, which provided a conduit for God to have a meeting place for the people He created to praise Him. That location was the physical representation of the position Jesus would one day to bring God to His people. This could go on and on; book by book; nearly chapter by chapter; of the Great Love God demonstrates toward Jesus (Love, Leadership & Location). Do your research, and you will know for sure that God has a great Love for Jesus.
- RECEIVE: The Love Christ Has Us (I also have loved you). Every Christmas many of us ensure that we exchange gifts with our loved ones, friends and colleagues. During the gift exchange you give a present to someone and you hope that they appreciate it. You see we are so excited about the gift we never for once think about whether or not the person is going to receive that gift. Of course, they are going to receive this gift, I gave it to them. Funny enough Jesus Loves us the same what God Loves Him. However, just because Jesus loves us, doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone will receive it. I know that so many times, I look at how much Jesus loves me, and I just don’t feel worthy of His love. How can someone so perfect, love someone so imperfect. The fact is, if I give my wife a gift, regardless of how wonderful it is, if she does not receive it, she could never enjoy it, be blessed by it, or receive the benefits from it. Likewise, if we do not receive Jesus’ love; we cannot be filled (Eph 3); have our fear cast out (1 John 4); sins covered (1 Peter 4); nor would we know how to love anyone else (John 13). Unless we receive Jesus “gift” of Love we cannot access any of the benefits. It is the benefits of Love that become our key to loving other people.
- REMAIN: In the Love of God (abide in My love). Now once we’ve done our research and received the precious love God has for us, it is imperative that we Remain in that Love. I truly believe that definitions almost always hammer home the understanding of a word or concept. The word remain is defined as “continuing to possess a particular quality or fulfill a particular role.” We need to possess (own, take, have) the Love of Jesus and the benefits (that come with that love) in order to have the ability to love ourselves. If we cannot love ourselves, we lack the tools to properly love others. In same video reference earlier, Jada talks about how she did not have the capacity to lover her husband until she dealt with herself.
One of the areas I find difficult is when stress robs me of my joy and I’m feeling low; then I bring my misery with me wherever I go. If I don’t receive Jesus’s Love and get filled with His fullness (Eph 3) I will make all around me just as miserable. Or when I fall short by sinning, rather than spiraling downward because I failed, I must be reminded of His love, which has already COVERED all of my sin (1 John 4). Or when I’m afraid things are not going to work out; I have to received Jesus’ “Perfect Love.” The only way I can love someone else is to Love Me like, Jesus loves me, which is how God loves HIM.
The truth is simple when I do the research to see how beautiful God’s love is for Jesus, I am then able to receive that same love. Once I receive love, I have the benefits that make it possible for me to say “Lovin’ Me is easy cause His Love is beautiful. La la la la la la la… do do do do do.” Ms. Minnie would be very proud to know that her song remains universally loved and can also serve as a love learning tool for understanding God’s Perfect Love for Me.