Let’s think about God’s love for a moment. God is love. God loves because He is fully satisfied and filled with the love that flows among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus is satisfied with His Father’s love. He doesn’t need anything from His creatures because He is full (has more than enough love), so He is free to give generously. That’s how love grows and flows in His people. The big foundational truth is this: When Jesus is enough for us (when we are most satisfied in Him), regardless of what happens, our roots are tapped into the only soil that nourishes and sustains His super power of love.
We are called to live to love like Jesus loves. Understanding the connection between experiencing fullness and expressing love is as vital as grasping how feeling empty is related to falling into sin. When we take our eyes off of Jesus’ love, it’s not long before we feel empty and seek temporal things to fill the void. Those things, God calls idols—sinful, inferior substitutes for Him. When we are in such a state of being satisfied by idols, God’s love doesn’t flow in or through us. However, when our love tank is full, we express His love to those God puts in our paths like Jesus did—out of fullness.
How does this satisfying fullness take place? Believers experience and enjoy the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s presence. The Holy Spirit fills believers with awe and wonder at the love of God as they realize what He has done for them. According to His great mercy and grace, He counts them as righteous through faith in Christ (which they don’t deserve), so they have constant acceptance and fellowship. It’s also awesome to know that they are loved by God with the same love as He has for His own Son, Jesus Christ. This same love moves through them. That’s amazing and filling! The apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers to experience this fullness.
“That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19).
Some scriptural examples of the sufficient satisfaction of Jesus’ love especially encourage us during times like these, as we are going through the COVID-19 pandemic and many are suffering the loss of loved ones and temporal things. Such was the case with the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews. The Roman persecution against Christians resulted in the same kinds of losses. The writer of Hebrews contrasts the confidence of unbelievers (i.e., money and the things it buys—which were being stripped from them) and the confidence of believers in Jesus (i.e., the promise and presence of Jesus—which could not be taken from them). “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’” (Heb. 13:5-6). What was the writer reminding these believers about their foundation? Jesus’ presence and love are enough in this life.
The apostle Paul’s testimony while he was in prison offers another great example of the foundational trust that Jesus’ love is enough. Having suffered the loss of all things, he wrote,
“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;” (Philippians 3:7-10).
A final example of the connection between being satisfied in Jesus’ love and being able to love like He loves comes to us from Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples. He had just heard a new commandment from Jesus: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Certainly the question in all of their minds was, “How can we love like You love?” Then Jesus told them He was going to leave them and go to the Father so they could be together forever. Jesus declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him” (John 14:6). Philip’s reply reveals his heart’s longing. “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us” (14:8). If we can see the Father and know His love through Jesus, then that is enough for us to be able to love like He loves. That is the truth!
Is Jesus’ love enough for you in this life? Does He fully satisfy your soul? If not, then living to love with Jesus will seem impossible. But the good news is that if you have sought satisfaction in this life from temporal things and from imperfect people, then you can repent and turn to Jesus with confidence that He will satisfy your deepest longings. Being grounded in His love, you will be in the flow of His love. When His love makes its way through you, you will find yourself in the greatest adventure possible—the live to love with Jesus adventure. The waves of His love will carry you through life—come what may. Ride the wave of His love so you can live to love like Jesus loves!