As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:9–17)
They say the first breath is typically taken within 10 seconds of birth after aspirating mucus from the infant’s mouth and nose. The first breaths inflate the lungs to nearly full capacity and dramatically decrease lung pressure and resistance to blood flow, causing a major circulatory reconfiguration.
When you inhale (breathe in), air enters your lungs, and oxygen from the air moves from your lungs to your blood. At the same time, carbon dioxide (a waste gas), proceeds from your blood to the lungs. It is then exhaled (breathed out). A normal person takes 12–20 breathes per minute, and you cannot go without a breath for more than two minutes; otherwise, it causes severe brain damage.
God says, “You are loved … I have loved you”. The first breath we take when we are born again is God’s breath of love. This breath of love gives life to our dead selves. God has loved you, and it’s the truth because He has said it. We are loved because He chose to, and He wants to. You are worthy of being loved, that’s God idea. Let no one else tell you otherwise, not even you. No one has the right to say you are not loved because God has said you are. We begin our life journey by this truth; this is the essence of what we do, who we become, and how we will be known as a community. This is not just a thought; it’s the air we breathe. When we stop breathing we suffocate then and we need to be put on ventilators.
Some people say that they don’t feel the love of God. Well, the love of God is not a feeling; it’s the truth. Some days I don’t feel like being a father (my role has changed and my both daughters are now in college), but the truth is that I am still a father in spite of my feelings. Some days, you may not feel married (if you are married), but the truth is different than what you think.
Has doubt erased your awareness of God’s love for you?
Born in a good and decent home, Jess did not think she was “good enough”; she suffered from low self-esteem due to her body image. She was an immigrant and moving into a school where she didn’t have any friends made it very hard for her. Other kids made fun of her skin tone and called her “weird.” Jess lived every day to be loved, accepted, and noticed. When she graduated and moved on to college, she made some lifestyle changes. Suddenly she looked attractive, and many boys were interested in her. She was now receiving the attention that she desperately had been seeking for so long, and to keep that attention on her, she gave them all they asked. She also got some offers to do modelling. She soon found that the more she revealed her skin, the more world loved her and adored her. That led her life to spiral down to doing some of those R-rated movies that she eventually regretted profoundly. The people she thought gave her attention were, in fact, exploiting her for their greed and fantasy. The world that viewed her online was objectifying her. Soon she found herself in a place where she felt unloved, used, and shamed. This is the story of many teenagers and many adults. If you don’t think you are loved, you will live far from the truth.
Has pain erased the truth of “I have loved you”?
As a pastor, I have often seen this first-hand, especially when people go through tragedies: they equate it to being unloved by God, thinking that its God’s anger for their past sins. I remember one good couple who, after losing their only child, became so discouraged and defeated that each of them went on their own way, becoming unfaithful to each other. Their pain made them think they were not good enough to be loved or to receive love so they gave themselves to others who made them feel they were loved during their hurt. These are the stories of us.
But the truth is, “He loved us”. Jesus is saying as the Father loved Him, He has loved us. What is the extent of Father’s love? When did He love you? From before the creation of the world. How long will He love you? Beyond this world.
(To be continued…)