Let me tell you about a boy whose love for his mother changed history. This fellow grew up dreaming of joining the British Navy. His brother was a Navy man, and his tales and enthralled young George. The lad began dreaming of a career on the high seas. As soon as he was of age, he signed up. George’s widowed mother opposed the idea, but she reluctantly gave her consent.
But when the day came for goodbye, it was too much for his mother. Seeing him in his dashing uniform, with his belongings on the ship and his vessel ready to sail, she sobbed. She begged him to renounce his plans and to assist her with her burdens in life.
His dream had been years in the making and he could hardly give it up, yet not if it meant breaking her heart. Though deeply disappointed, he returned his uniform. The direction of the boy’s life was forever changed. But he found another pathway in life, and history was transformed because George Washington put his mother first.
If a boy’s love for his mother can change history, think of the power of God’s love toward us. God loves you are the three most powerful words, for they summarize the redemptive, sacrificial heart of Almighty God toward our deepest hurts and needs.
Just as J. I. Packer says in his book Knowing God: “To know God’s love is indeed heaven on earth.” According to Packer, God’s love is the exercise of His goodness toward individual sinners, allowing us to know and enjoy Him in a covenant relationship. No wonder Paul prayed that we would more fully comprehend the width, length, depth, and height of Christ’s love (Ephesians 3:18-19).
Rejoice in Its Power
When our lives are touched by the love of Jesus, we’re wonderfully transformed. And when enough people experience the same love, our society is changed.
The Mutiny on the Bounty illustrates this. The whole thing began in 1787 when the English ship Bounty, commanded by Lieutenant William Bligh, sailed to the South Pacific to collect plants and agricultural samples. Viewing it as a voyage to paradise, sailors signed up with excitement. Bligh appointed Fletcher Christian as second-in-command, and the Bounty stayed in Tahiti six months. When time came for departure, some of the men wanted to stay behind. The mood on ship darkened, and Fletcher Christian staged the most famous mutiny in history. Bligh and his supporters were set adrift in an overloaded lifeboat.
The mutineers on the Bounty immediately began quarreling about what to do next. Christian returned to Tahiti with the remaining crew traveling a thousand miles to uninhabited Pitcairn Island. There the little group unraveled. Disease and murder eventually took the lives of all the men except one, Alexander Smith, who found himself the only man on the island, surrounded by an assortment of women and children.
Then Smith found the Bounty’s neglected Bible. Reading it, he realized that true paradise is the discovery of God’s love revealed through Christ. The message of Christ so transformed their lives that twenty years later, in 1808, when the Topaz landed on the island, it found a happy society of Christians living in prosperity and peace.
The love of God through Jesus Christ had touched and transformed every soul.
As Christians we can relate to that story, for our own testimonies are similar.
Revel in Its Simplicity
While rejoicing in its power, we can also revel in its simplicity. The love of God is strong enough to change society, yet simple enough to touch our most tender hurts. Occasionally something happens to remind us that the simplest things are best. Think of the comfort of a simple touch. Now think of the simplicity of God’s love. According to the verse I quoted earlier in Ephesians 3, God’s love is like a cube. We’re to comprehend its height, depth, width, and length. God’s love is the simplest building block in life.
Many of us struggle with an array of issues because we don’t comprehend the simplicity of His love. Devotional writer Frances Havergal addressed this in one of her little books. “Perhaps we have the dreary idea, ‘Nobody wants me,’” she wrote. “We never need grope in that gloom again, when the King Himself desires us! This desire is love active, love in glow, love going forth, love delighting and longing.”
God not only loves you, He loves to love you. His love is greater than tongue or pen can ever tell; it goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell.
It’s not off the mark to say that growth in the Christian life is a matter of experiencing the simplicity and practicality of God’s love in ever-expanding ways. As we realize the eternal ramifications of His love, we can’t help sharing the Gospel with others.
God’s love should be transforming you every day, for His love changes everything and everyone. That’s why the most powerful words you’ll ever say are: “God loves you!”
David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God,
and serves as Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.
As you read Christ Above All, Dr. Jeremiah’s study of Colossians, you’ll come to better know who Jesus is theologically. In other words, the truth about Him—the whole truth and nothing but the truth—will thrill you. Our minds need solid doctrine so we’ll have a solid relationship with Christ, built on personal reverence for Him and friendship with Him.