The love of the Father can change everything in my life. In this missionary outline, Jesus challenges His followers to have the love of God sink down to their very essence.
At first these words seem so hard – Jesus will deny me if I deny Him? I am supposed to love Him more than my children? Following Him might mean my parents will disown me? How can this be the love of God?
As we reflect on them, the teaching of Christ makes sense. The love of God is more than I could ever imagine. He cares about me more than I could possibly imagine; He knows the hairs on my head; He loves and knows every detail of my life. I can accept that love, or follow a substitute (wife, friends, kids). Loving Him does not make me love others less – but more. When I love the Author of Love, I love others more. When I love anything more than God, it hurts my relationship with God, and with others – thus the sword, and the denial, and the division.
When I accept the love of the Lord down to my core, I am changed – and I am willing to suffer, and be insulted, and rejected – even by those I love SO much (parents, children, friends). This does not mean I reject them or insult back – but compelled by the love of Christ, I return hate with love. And I never forget or stop loving my first Love.
This is what it means to be a witness for Christ – not just “telling others about Jesus”, but living the love of Christ in the midst of a broken world. This is the powerful love of the Lord that transforms lives and can change the world.