Pastor Sam Adeyemi
1 John 3:16 (NLT)
Love is a universal subject and when we say, real love, some may feel goose pimples or feel really good. What then is real love? A man happened to have his son on a rail track when he suddenly realized that a train was fast approaching and he had to save his son by pushing the son off the rail track but sadly, he lost his own life in the process. This can be described as real love. This is not romantic love but unconditional love. This fits our scriptural text that says ‘we know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us’.
Love recognizes the value in another and demonstrates the recognition of that value by giving and forgiving. God recognized so much value in us that He thought we were worth the life of His Son; God bankrupted heaven to see us saved. How much you are willing to pay for an item is a reflection of the value that you place on that item. Recognizing value is the starting point of love. We can paraphrase John 3:16 to say for God so recognized value in the world that He gave His only begotten son. You love your spouse because you recognize the value in him/her. You see something that the average eye cannot see. Christ recognized so much value in us that He gave himself for us.
If all that we do is to love people because of their physical appearances or because of what they have or because of their current status or titles, then, we have a big problem because each of these factors can change at short notice. When the foundation of a relationship is built on ephemeral things then, our love is not deep but shallow and it cannot be sacrificial. You’ll have to see God in another human being before you’ll be willing to sacrifice your own life. The foundation for us is the recognition of value. We need to get back to the roots and ask ourselves what really is the value of a human being. Just for the fact that the person is a human being, then, the person is qualified to be loved because man is made in the image of God. There is a bit of God in every human being. The amazing thing about this is that it doesn’t matter the experiences that you go through in this life, nothing can take that value away. For instance, two same value and denomination currency notes; but one of them being crisp and new while the other is old, stained and dirty; each still has the same purchasing power and same value. This implies that in spite of all the experience of the old note, it still hasn’t lost its intrinsic value; the experience hasn’t been able to take away the real value of the currency note. Hence, all that you’ve been through, all the bad experiences; none of it is able to erode the intrinsic value that God put in you. Similarly, all the bad experiences of the people around you haven’t been able to erode the intrinsic value of God in them either.
Hence we lack the capacity to love because we lack the capacity to see and recognize value. Love recognizes the value in another and demonstrates the recognition of that value by giving and forgiving. This kind of love is what will build and restore families. Some started their marriages and families recognizing value; we were thrilled and excited by the presence of the other person but if that is no more then, something came in along the line and obstructed this by shifting our attention from the real value of that person. This person may have spoken to you in a harsh way and hurt you, the person may have disappointed you but all of that has not taken away the true value of that person.
Roman 5:6-8; shows that with all our sin God still recognized the value in us. There’ll be an explosion of the God kind of love because we’ll be seeing past people’s mistakes to see the real thing that God saw, that made Jesus appear in human form and die on our behalf.
This kind of love will work where strategies fail; 1 Corinthians 13:8 says love never fails. Loving this way is a proof of spiritual maturity. Am sure we are aware that there are other strategies God could have used to get Man into a relationship with Him and for Man to live right. God bypassed all these and rather chose love because love never fails. Beating your wife will fail, abusing and running down your spouse will fail but love never fails.
The evidence of spiritual maturity is perspective; how one understands, thinks and speaks; it is the interpretation on the way we see things. Apostle Paul said when I grew up, I put away childish things. One characteristic of children is self-centeredness and this one thing we need to put away by a change in perspective to esteem others better than ourselves.