Monday, July 24, 2006

# 159: “What the World Needs Now Is . . ."

About 30 years ago, a singer named Jackie de Shannon sang a song that hit the target as to what our greatest need is: “What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love.” The next line goes like this “not just for some but for everyone.” I can remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard that song for the first time. It had that much of an impact on my thinking then.

I said to myself, “She is right; that is what I need.” I was happily married at the time and my wife was expecting a child. Therefore, I was experiencing marital love. But I felt that this song was talking about a different type of love; something I knew little or nothing about. That might have been the first time that I felt unloved, beyond human love.

In this blog, I am going to attempt to describe this love that is beyond what humans can generate. I must be very careful not to just put words on paper, but to somehow describe or bring to life this love. I am not certain I can do just that. Nevertheless, I am going to combine how the Bible portrays this Godly love along with my personal experience.

It all started in heaven, even before God started His creation process. That is when the need for love was born. Within Himself, God knew what would satisfy Him more than all else. God decided to create living beings (spiritual and physical) that He could love in a way that would satisfy completely, both the objects of His love and the fulfillment for Himself.

But it was not that easy. In order for love to be of any value, God had to create His love beings with the same characteristics He possessed (made in His image). Said another way: His creation had to have the same potential He had. That meant God had to give all His creation, both spiritual and physical beings, a free will. That is where the challenge started and has not yet ended. Free will left the door wide open for disobedience (sin) to come to life.

In the spiritual realm, this love that God would give, when it was gladly received, is all that was needed to sustain and give life complete fulfillment. WOW. Yet there were some who, because of their free will, not only wanted God’s love but also wanted God’s Almighty power, and felt a sly form of disobedience was the route. These were the angels that were classified as evil ones. Click on # 154, “The Devil Made Me Do It,” to find out more about these disobedient angels.

Now, let’s get down to earth. Since God’s physical beings were also created in His image, they had the intrinsic desire to love and be loved. But to somehow get these earthlings to be made aware of God Himself, of His great love and His desire to be loved in return, was another more trying matter.

In His attempts to communicate with His physical creation, there could be no intimidation or coercion. Otherwise, love would become tainted. Therefore, a barrier had to exist between Himself and His physical creatures. He made it so He could not be seen by His creation (He remained invisible).

Then, God chose the belief process as a means of invisible communication. He would speak to certain humans by putting certain thoughts of His existence into their thought process. Those that believed and responded were the ones to whom He was able to describe and demonstrate His love.

One problem: God lived in a realm of perfection, while His creation lived in a world of survival of the fittest (sin). How God would solve this disobedience issue would take some bending of the heavenly rules. He does this by counting or converting belief into righteousness. These few humans may still occasionally live in a way that is displeasing to Him; but the main thing is they believe that God exists and loves them; therefore, communication and love can be reciprocated.

Enough small talk; now let’s get to the big picture. The love God has for us and the love we have for Him, most often is just a word we use to mimic what the Bible says. The Bible is full of how much God loves us and that we must also reciprocate that love by loving Him with all our faculties.

The love God has for us is extremely difficult to describe unless it is actually experienced. Most of us know how it feels when someone loves us. It may be romantic love, a friendship-type love, or a love parents have for their children. Repeating, we can identify with the emotions produced when we know for certain (believe) we are being loved.

If you know for certain that God loves you, in what ways will this love impact your life? If there is no known effect, that love may be just a word that sounds great to use. But can we experience God’s love in a way that makes us actually feel comforted, secure, needed, responsive, etc., to that love? Absolutely!

Factually, when one does truly experience this Godly love, all other loves we have experienced in our lives will seem like–I hate to use this word, but it is the only way to attempt to describe God’s love–hate. It is that powerful. One may have to put weights on his or her shoes to keep from floating away. Of course, that is only a hyperbole. What I am trying to get across is that the results cannot be hidden.

That doesn’t mean that God hates you if you are not experiencing His love. It means you are only cheating yourself of the greatest joy in the universe. Although God’s love is free, there will be a great price tag, although it is not monetary. What is the price? “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27. That is a tall order, to say the least.

By living the above verse, one is reciprocating (returning) His love. Yes, to love and be loved in return by God has a high price. That obedience to His commands is what continually fuels that indescribable love of God.

That is the active God-type love (agape) that is needed in the Christian community. It is a crying shame, as Nat King Cole sang years ago. “They say that love’s a word, a word we’ve only heard, but can’t begin to know the meaning of . . .” Even though he was talking about romantic love, the meaning is still the same.

Why don’t some of you, if not all of you, who are reading this “out of this world” post make loving and receiving God’s love your holy grail for life? I personally guarantee that if you don’t hold back, you will never regret it. You will actually be sitting on top of the world of love. That is what genuine Christianity is all about. If you are a Christian and are short on love, stop cheating yourself; God’s love is there for the asking. You’ll know it, but only when you’re experiencing it.

This conclusion is the frosting on the cake. We as humans all desire to be/feel successful in our life’s ventures, whatever they may be. It is a shame that many acquaint and measure success by accomplishments and achievements, especially with financial security. And I can understand that popular concept, since we live in a dog-eat-dog world.

But there exists a much higher quality of success which is more stable in this uncertain world. That success comes from above. When a person is 1) loved; 2) needed; 3) wanted; and 4) feels valuable in the sight of God, that is the epitome of success. That type of success will affect every part of one’s life. It is impossible for anyone or anything in this world to match those four much-needed qualities. With those assets in one’s heart, mind, and pocket, what else can be desired? Nothing except modest shelter and a small amount of food and clothing. Those qualities give not only success but wealth (heavenly treasures) beyond human comprehension. Experiencing God’s love is that powerful and wonderful. “What the world needs now is love, sweet love, not just for some but for everyone.”

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