“The fact is, I need God to help me love God. And if I need His help to love Him, a perfect being, I definitely need His help to love other, fault-filled humans. Something mysterious, even supernatural must happen in order for genuine love for God to grow in our hearts. The Holy Spirit has to move in our lives” (Francis Chan).

The older I get, the more I realize the truth of this. The more I see how innately selfish I am, as I suspect most of us do if we’re honest. Left to myself, my greatest love would be for myself.

But thankfully, God doesn’t leave me alone. God never at any time or in any place for any reason leaves anyone alone who calls to Him in faith.

The truth of the matter is that I can love God or anyone else at all because God first loved me and showed me how. Better yet, I can love with the same love that God loved me with. I love with God’s love.

I’m also thankful that God’s love for me isn’t the benign and generic kind of indulgent enable-ism that passes for love in this culture. He knows me by name and loves me specifically for who I am as I am with a love that purifies and refines and transforms me into something more like the Beloved.

That’s love. That’s how God loves me. That’s how I’m to love others with a view to their transformation into the likeness and image of the God who loved me first.

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