THE STRENGTH OF THE POINT OF ORIGIN
I’m not a scientist. In fact, I’m so far from being scientifically-minded that when it came to choosing subjects for Year 11 and 12 my science teacher at the time strongly suggested that I consider choosing Business Studies over Biology.
Don’t feel bad for me. It actually turned out to be solid counsel as it set me on a track that led to a Bachelor of Commerce and an almost 10-year-strong business career to date.
This does however mean that my knowledge of any science-related concepts is near non-existent. And yet, this week I found myself researching earthquakes, specifically their point of origin.
Stay with me.
I came across a few websites that explain the nature of how earthquakes start. I think they were written for children but hey, that works for me!
What I learned was that the point of origin of an earthquake is referred to as the earthquake’s ‘focus’. The vibrating waves travel away from the focus of the earthquake in all directions. These waves are at their most powerful when they are at the focus [point of origin] of the earthquake.
That’s all I need to share for the purposes of this blog so let’s end the ‘Earthquakes 101’ lesson there.
What I want to pull out is this: the most powerful point of an earthquake is the point of origin.
GOD IS LOVE’S POINT OF ORIGIN
Recently God has led me on this wild ride through the bible, revealing more and more about the nature of His love.
One of these revelations was this: God is the original source of love.
Look at what is says in 1 John 4:8 (MEV) – “Anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
Love’s point of origin is God!
Just like the earthquake’s ‘focus’ is its strongest and most powerful point, the strongest love in the universe can be found at its point of origin – God!
A pretty epic thought, right!
But wait, there is more…
THE ORIGINAL LIVES IN US!
God, the original, purest, most powerful and potent source of love, lives in us!
1 John 4:12 (MEV) says this: “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us and His love is perfected in us.”
Verses 15 and 16 go on to say: “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him, and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in Him.”
Take a moment to re-read that and consider its meaning. At first it can feel like that episode of Friends where everyone is first finding out about Monica and Chandler: “They don’t know that we know they know…”
These verses are saying that when you confess Jesus as Lord, God takes up residence in your heart AND you take up residence in God (verse 15).
God is love and God lives in us. Therefore, love lives in us and we live in love. It’s automatic!
That is how we begin to experience God’s great love for us. God’s love is more than a feeling. Feelings are fleeting. The love of God, the same love that lives in those of us that have declared Jesus as the Lord of our life, is fixed, permanent, sure, unending and unconditional.
His love is the greatest love we will ever know.
LOVE OUT OF THE ORIGINAL SOURCE
With this in mind, consider this commandment from God in 1 John 4:23 (MEV) – “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another as He commanded us.”
If I’m being completely honest with you, I am far from getting this commandment right. I personally find it really difficult to love all people. Not everyone is easy to love!
But in light of the fact that God is love and this pure source of love lives in us – what if, instead of trying to love people out of the love that we can manufacture ourselves, we try loving people out of the original source of love that lives in us?
Love can only beget love. In other words, the only way love can be produced is by experiencing love. And God is love.
All other love is manufactured by man. It is a knock-off kind of love. It is diluted, impure, conditional and limited. It is finite and will, therefore, always fall short. If we try to love people out of this kind of love that we can produce within ourselves, we’ll struggle every time to fulfill God’s commandment.
BUT God’s love is the complete opposite. When we are loved by God and this love lives in us, the love we show towards others is a direct display of God’s love; of God himself! It’s pure; the strongest form of love, because it comes from the original source of love.
So back to 1 John 4:23 and the commandment to love others…
God is not asking us to love others out of our own capacity to love. Rather He is giving us everything we need to walk this out in His plan. Look at what it says in the first half of verse 23 – “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus…”
Before telling us to love each other, He first tells us to believe in Jesus. And remember what 1 John 4:15 says when we believe in Jesus – we are filled with God [and His love]. We are to then love others using this love!
God gives us EVERYTHING we need to fulfill this commandment and love each other well – He has put Himself and ALL his love inside us!
This essentially means that we can never say that we don’t have enough capacity/room/ability to love others, because it actually has nothing to do with our ability to love and everything to do with God’s love that lives in us!
Here’s the short of it: God isn’t asking us to love out of our own strength. Rather He equipped us with everything we need to fulfill this commandment when He took up residence in our heart and love itself moved in.
THIS IS GOD’S LOVE PLAN FOR THE EARTH
Based on these scriptures in 1 John 3 and 4, we are carriers of God’s love on the earth.
We are called to love each other using the love of God that lives in us so that when people see us loving each other they see God!
This is what 1 John 4:12 (NLT) is referring to when it says: “No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.”
This is how we become His hands and feet on the earth.
1 John 3:18 (NLT) says “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”
That is how people will experience and see God – by the way we love each other.
We see God’s love in the physical realm by the physical acts of love by others. The greatest of these was Jesus. His death on the cross to save us for eternity was the greatest act of love the world will ever SEE. It wasn’t mere words. It was truth by action!
“In this way the love of God was revealed to us, that God sent His only begotten Son in to the world that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:9).
God didn’t just speak about His love. He showed it through His actions when He sent Jesus!
Through Jesus’ death on the cross we have divine access to God and when we confess Him as our Lord, He takes up residence in our hearts. Love comes to live in us. In doing so, God gives us everything we need to love others well. And that is how the world will come to know God – through the love of God in action through our lives!
HOW TO TAP INTO IT…
Are you still with me?
This is God’s plan to share His love with the world. And you and I have a critical part to play.
But if we don’t tap into the original source of love living in us, we’ll fall short every time.
The concept, at its heart, is simple. It is the simple gospel.
Easy, not always.
But God doesn’t put His love in us and then lock it up and throw away the key. He has given us a divine Counsellor and Friend that lives in us, in the same place where His love resides, to teach us how to live out of God’s love. And that is the Holy Spirit.
In John 14:15-31 Jesus lets His disciples know that after He has gone to heaven God will send them a Counsellor that will be with them forever. A friend that will live in them and be with them.
Verse 26 (MEV) says: “But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have told you.”
Within this scripture lies the answer for how we access God’s love that lives in us – it is by the Holy Spirit. He will teach us if we ask him!
If you’re looking for a more practical application, let me encourage you by this prayer I’ve started to pray each morning: “Holy Spirit, please teach me how to love others today out of God’s supply of love that lives in me, rather than my own. Amen.”
ORIGINAL LOVE LIVES IN YOU.
God is love.
When we confess Jesus as the Son of God, God takes up residence in our hearts (1 John 14:15-16),
Therefore, we have the purest, strongest, richest and most abundant source of love living directly within us. Its measure is infinite.
This means that if you feel like you are running low on love or loving others is proving too hard, you’re tapping into the wrong love source. Your tapping into your filtered, washed down, diluted version of love. And that, my friend, is finite! It means you are trying to fulfil the command of God out of your own strength and supply, and trust me, that has it limits. You’ll reach the bottom of that barrel quickly.
BUT the original source of love is living in you. When you tap into God and His love, you’ll never run dry!
Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you to live out of this love. He’s your Counsellor, Helper and Friend.
Then we can get on with God’s business of loving this world to Him!