Thought for the Week - 27th December 2015Pastor Gareth Watkins
1 John 4:16-19
And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us.
God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him.
By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment,
because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. We love because he loved us first.
How wonderful is it that “We love Him because He first loved us”!
It can be difficult for some people to unconditionally commit themselves to the love of God. They take time trying to figure it out. But the thing is, you can’t work it out! That love was there before the beginning of time! That love is a miracle of God!
We can be frightened of this love sometimes. It’s not something that can be bought or earned, and it isn’t something that we can deserve through our own merits.
So don’t delay by trying to figure it out – just commit to it, no strings attached! Take the risk and commit, no “ifs”, no conditions and no “buts”.
Don’t put obstacles in the way that stop you getting on further with God. Instead, hold onto His love, because God loves you and He wants you to experience more! He wants you to go on… He doesn’t want you to stay where you are.
The love that God has for you is still there – whether you’re far away or close.
Last week, I spoke about person A and person B. This week I’d like to reflect on another two people:
Luke 7:36 – 48
Now one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him,
so he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table.
Then when a woman of that town, who was a sinner, learned that Jesus was dining at the Pharisee’s house,
she brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil.
As she stood behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears.
She wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfumed oil.
Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.”
So Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” He replied, “Say it, Teacher.”
“A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty.
When they could not pay, he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon answered, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
Then, turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house. You gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
You gave me no kiss of greeting, but from the time I entered she has not stopped kissing my feet.
You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfumed oil.
Therefore I tell you, her sins, which were many, are forgiven, thus she loved much; but the one who is forgiven little loves little.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Here we have two people – the Pharisee and the sinner. The woman had no reputation, learning or holiness to offer… yet her desire for the love of Christ made her give her all. She had many sins that were forgiven, for she loved much! She poured everything out and wanted to be forgiven. She wanted the love of God.
Meanwhile, the Pharisee – a man of learning, holiness and reputation – remained reserved, even though he had sins that needed forgiveness too! Unlike the woman, he loved little.
The woman took a risk, with no strings attached. Her actions were expensive: the oil was expensive, she risked the Pharisee reaction and Christ’s reaction. She gave everything over!
Will we be like the woman or the Pharisee? How do we want to be before Him – standing aloof like the Pharisee or pouring it all out to Him, wanting His love?
We need to be in the place where our relationship with God supersedes everything else in our lives. God will never let us down! It starts with us… bringing that trust and yielding to God. It’s only us that holds us back, for He has put everything in place where we can feel the love of God.
Going into the New Year, are you holding back or are you handing everything over?