Giving Love and the Promise of Enlargement
"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God" (1 John 3:1). To be a child of God is the most precious gift imaginable. It is an experience to be entered into actively, not merely a status to be enjoyed. The Father has chosen us to receive His great love - not merely positionally from afar, but experientially up close. 1 John 4:16 says, "God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in Him." Christ died so that sonship could be realized in us and we could dwell and live and abide in the Father's great love. This glorious reality is to be the home of our heart...that is, the place where our heart dwells. Beloved, we are invited to know this transforming love now and in deeper and fuller measures.
There is a spiritual principle that Jesus lays out for us in Luke 6:38, telling us how we can enter in and receive this great love. He says, "Give and it will be given to you." Today, most people apply this truth to money, which is a legitimate application for this spiritual law, for it applies to all aspects of life. But the specific context of this passage points not to financial stewardship, but to heart stewardship - love and relationships. Jesus yearns for us to grow in heavenly love, mercy and forgiveness, and He delivers to us a key into acquiring more of God's divine nature - give of yourself. He says, "If you want more of God and you have right motives, then give, regardless of the personal cost, and you will be enlarged" (my paraphrase). The Lord tells us at the end of Luke 6:38 that "by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." Larger measures of giving will produce larger measures of receiving. Is this striving? No, we can earn nothing. This is love, and love has its own reward.
Jesus gave Himself in love for us on the cross, and He in turn received the gift of an adoring Bride. We love because He first loved us, and we find that as we allow love to flow freely toward God and others that our capacity grows for more. Love then is the inheritance of lovers...and the receiving of love grows is in the giving. We pour out and are enlarged, and through enlargement we are capable of receiving more. Why? Because love that is exercised is rewarded for fulfilling it's divine purpose - the giving of oneself for the enjoyment of another. Divine love is simple. Unfortunately, for us fallen creatures the simple can be all too difficult. We must learn to give and receive unconditional love. This is an active pursuit and can take many forms, but divine love is not stagnant, nor idle. No, God's love flows out and gives forth. As God's love flows into our lives in greater measures, the love poured in seeks a way to be poured out - in prayer, in worship, in practical service and compassionate works. Love is to be enjoyed and expressed, and the enjoyment is made fuller through the expression. Lord, enlarge our hearts in your heavenly love! That we would learn to give ourselves in love to God (fulfilling the first commandment) and to others (fulfilling the second), and to receive it back in deepening measures. "Give and it shall be given to you...pressed down, shaken together and running over."
It is important to see that the hidden battle that rages around us, and many times within us, is the battle over our hearts, to shut us down from giving and receiving God's divine love. In these days and in the days to come hearts will grow cold in God's love and many will be restricted to self love, carnality and self preservation. It will be extremely challenging in the midst of the coming pressures to be steadfast and free in love and confident in the Father's embrace. But in the hour that is coming upon the earth our only safe haven will be a heart rooted and grounded and flowing in heavenly love. When talking about the time of His Return, Jesus warned, "Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap" (Luke 21:34). Wisdom is found in this - learn to give and receive God's divine love now, so that your heart will not be weighed down then. No circumstances will be able to quench mature love established in the hearts of His children, for His love never fails!