In this life, in this physical body, we exist in time. We mark minutes, days, years, periods, our childhood, adult life, old age, and all different kinds of measurements of our physical existence in the body we were born into time with. When that body completely fails us, time for us will be no more. Because, just as C.S. Lewis said, we are each a soul, we have a body, and we are an everlasting being, who will spend eternity somewhere. We will acquire another "body" when the physical creation of God that we now exist in returns to dust. I don't have any clear idea what it will be like, this new body, but we won't ever need a replacement for it. It will not be subject to disease or accident. I won't sustain any fender benders, wrinkles, or failed joints and organs. None of the typical maintenance I require now will be needed, and I will never get fat, or have my mind or thought processes be interrupted by illness, age, or accident.
I will begin my eternity existence, and there will be no more "endings" for me. Eternity is forever, and I try to grasp that concept, but so far the only reality and truth I have lived in has been the "time" reality. Of all that is significant in life, the thing of most significance, and which will determine where I exist in eternity, is love.
God, who has always been, not only in eternity, but who is eternity, desired to be loved and to love a being that chose to give themselves to Him in an act of volunteer love. The Greek language. which so much of the Bible was written in. has four words for love, and I am not speaking of "eros" love, which is such a wonderful thing for a man and woman to share, and will knit them together in a way that shared physical bodies does, and which produces such a profound relationship. That is the kind of love Valentine's Day was founded to celebrate. Next to the love of God, it is within marriage that the most gratifying emotional relationship a human being can know, is found. Its' success is achieved when it is practiced as God ordained.
Nor when I speak of this love, am I speaking of the instinctive "family love," known as "storage" in the Greek. How binding, sweet, and powerful is the love of family. I am having a luncheon today for friends, for whom I have great love. That kind of "friendship" love is also greatly satisfying to the human soul, and provides such a richness for our lives. In the Greek, that type of love is known as "philia," or brotherly love.
I am thinking of and expressing my thoughts on "agape" the Greek word for God's unconditional love. Nothing was created or exists for any reason other than God's unconditional love. God knew exactly what He was doing, what would go terribly wrong, and how He would restore what went wrong with His creation of free willed beings. He also knew what potential satisfaction and reward would be created within each free willed being, and He called what would be known from that, love. God is all knowing, and counted the cost, and oh how great a cost it was, before He proceeded to create each free willed being, including you. He considered the pain each of us would bring to Him in rejection of His love. He thought of what it would be like to exist eternally loving and being loved by you, you personally. After He contemplated these things, in His perfect knowledge and wisdom He brought you into being, knowing how wonderful and good heaven would be for you and Him. He also described in His Word to us Himself , His Identity, His very essence, in the three word sentence, "God is love." The purpose of each of us is love. We were created in His image of love.
In God's desire to be loved by you, He gave exact instruction just how that was to be accomplished. In His Word He simply stated "if you love Me, keep my commandments." Love is expressed for God by our seeking to do what He wants us, in His great love for each of us, to do. So many of us refuse to love God, and that is as far from my understanding as is the contemplating and complete understanding of God's love, its' depth, and its' entirety. Those thoughts leave me in awe.
This morning in Bible study with my dear friend Brenda, we read where the Apostle Paul asked of God, "what would you have me to do?" In that question Paul expressed one of the most visible and exceptional examples of a man's loving of God. When you love God your heart instinctively asks, what would you have me to do.
This world of time is full of trouble, full of lies and the liars who speak them, confusion reigns in a person's life without God. The person who chooses to live outside God's love, to carry forward by their own wisdom, makes a train wreck of their life, no matter how they judge its' worth themselves. Ultimately in their rejection of God's love, they condemn themselves to eternal separation from love. God offers all of us the opportunity to know Him as we exist in this world of time, and the next world of eternity, in His love. How can I know such a thing, and not share it every day with everyone I encounter? What better a day than Valentine's to tell once again of God's love.
I will celebrate all day long today, all the forms of love that the Greeks described, but above all else I will celebrate that God is love, and my complete knowledge, due to personal experience, of what it is to be loved by God. Because as God described, and every good Soldier knows, "no greater love hath any man than to lay down his life for a friend, and my Savior, Jesus Christ, laid down His life, in love for me. This is a beautiful day to celebrate God's unfathomable love.