We Are Loved
How do you know you are loved?
There has been significant and helpful discussion over recent years to help us to articulate how we know we are loved. Gary Chapman’s great book, “The 5 Love Languages” has enabled many people to identify that they most feel loved either through words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time or physical touch.
Chapman’s follow-up book, “The 5 love languages of children” extends the work to how we can express love to children: words of affirmation – loving words or praise, acts of service – chores without complaint, gifts = special surprises, quality time – distraction-free time together or physical touch – hugs and kisses.
Each of these presentations of love in action is helpful.
But of course, the ultimate expression of love is the death of Jesus on the cross. We hear this message so often in church that it is easy for this truth to lose its impact. Our performance-based culture demands that we earn love. The apostle John (who describes himself as the disciple that Jesus loved) expresses this well when he wrote, “This is love: not that we love God, but that He loved us”. This is unconditional, undeserved love. One of the great and remarkable beauties of the cross is that Jesus could have avoided it – but chose not to. Jesus could have defended himself robustly at trial – but chose silence instead. He understood the cross as his destiny – the perfect expression of undeserved love.
The power of Jesus’ selfless love expressed at the crucifixion was so intense that a bystander couldn’t help but exclaim “Surely this man was the son of God”! The cross is the perfect demonstration of Jesus loving a broken sinful people to the fullest possible extent.
On Sundays at Renewal, we have been looking at Paul writing to the church in Ephesus, reminding them of all the blessings of the cross – that we are chosen, predestined, included and redeemed.
Paul reminds the church that it is by faith that we are saved. And that God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ and that we are God’s workmanship.
In this Easter season, I trust that each one of us can take time to gratefully pause and reflect on the transforming knowledge that WE ARE LOVED!