“Our greatest struggle and problem as human beings is having the ability to receive God’s love.”
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? These wise words were shared with me more than once by my mentor and dear friend, Dr. Victor Matthews, who passed away in 2008. The seeming simplicity of this statement belies a deeper truth: our ability to receive (or not) God’s love impacts how we view and treat God, ourselves, and others.
All human relationships are significantly impacted by this single truth in our lives.
Are we able to receive God’s love, or do we slip into performance mentality in an effort to earn God’s love? The first response is biblical; the second is not. The first response brings freedom; the second brings bondage.
God’s social nature and intrinsic love are clearly established in the doctrine of the Trinity. The ability to receive (and consequently offer) love is modeled perfectly by the interactions between God, the author of love; Jesus, the embodiment of love; and the Holy Spirit, the power of love.
In John 17:20-25, Jesus describes His loving relationship with His Father. Within the Trinity, each individual person has all of the attributes of God; no one person possesses an attribute that is not in the others. When we say, “God is Love!” we are saying the Father is love, the Son is love, and the Spirit is love.
As image-bearers of God, we have been given the capacity to be loved and to offer love to others. This is a gift from God that can only be received, not earned. This must also drive us to offer the same love freely to others, without conditions, instead of expecting others to earn our love.
The more we can learn to freely receive God’s love, the more abundant will our capacity be to love others. And as we love others with the love of Jesus, He will transform their lives and our world in deep and meaningful ways.