Boletim dos Obreiros

Testing Our Love For God

"We know that all things work together for good to those who love God"

Romans 8:28

September is the beginning of "Spring", a pleasant season appropriately called Season of Love.

"Love" is the attitude of greatest splendour in human experience. In 1 John 4:4-8 we see two fundamental things: 1 - The origin of love is God, because God is love; 2 - those born again and who know God are capable of loving.

In Matthew 22:35-40 the Lord asserts the primacy and the greatness of the commandments which determine to love God and the neighbour. He ends His remarkable declaration by emphasizing that on these commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. This means that the authentic experience of spiritual life can only be defined by the correct practice of complying with these two commandments in life.

When the Lord decided to take into His lap our late son, his wife and child, the text which was most quoted to me was Romans 8:28. Normally we relate this text to the expression that all that happens, good or bad, according to our evaluation, contributes to our well being. I meditated on it a lot and soon I perceived the key to its correct interpretation: "to those who love God"! I concluded with some important aspects:

  • Not everything that happens to us is in the will of God; there are things which happen in our life which have nothing to do with the will of God, but with or own will, exercised outside of the will of God.
  • We cannot transfer to God the responsibility for the consequences of the mistakes we commit, for "whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7).
  • Only the facts of life consequent on practices which evidence our true love for God work together for our good, even if some of them may not please us!

In the light of these considerations which the "season of love", Spring, suggest to us, let us test our love for God in three aspects:

  • Who loves occupies his mind with the person he loves - In the canticle of the sons of Korah (Psalm 48:9) we come across this fact: "Lord, here in your Temple we meditate upon your kindness and your love" Psalm 48:9 (Living). What a beatiful testimony of those who love God! How good it is to think and meditate upon the faithfulness of the "LOVE OF GOD"! In Psalm 143:5 David states: "I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands." Paul teaches in Colossians 3:2: "Let heaven fill your thoughts; don't spend your time worrying about things down here" Colossians 3:2 (Living). In Philippians 4:8: "Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about." (Living). If we love the Lord, we shall occupy our minds with Him.
  • Who loves wants to know more about the person he loves - To know more about the person we love we must maintain constant intimacy with that person. And "the secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant" (Psalm 25:14). The more we know Him, more we love Him"! Paul describes his experience like this, in Philippians 3:8-9: "Everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have put aside all else, counting it worth less than nothing, in order that I can have Christ, and become one with him" (Living). Knowing Christ progressively identifies us more and more with Him, Who "through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place" (2 Coríntios 2:14). Peter directs us in 2 Peter 3:18: "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
  • Who loves is sad when he displeases the person he loves - What most displeases God is our sin. Isaiah 59:2 reads: "But the trouble is that your sins have cut you off from God" (Living). When Nehemiah got to know the miserable state of his people, he sat down and wept bitterly, confessing the sin of them all (Nehemiah 1:4-7). When we love the Lord, we are sad if we displease Him. Then we must act in accordance with Proverbs 28:13: "He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy".
  • Who loves has pleasure in obeying the person he loves - Who is faithful makes the Law of the Lord the fountain of his gladness and at every instant, day and night, thinks about this Law. He keeps imagining how he can obery this law more closely (Psalm 1). John 13:17: "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them". According to the teaching of John in 1 John 2:5, those who do what Christ instructs us to do will learn to love God more and more. The Lord said that we shall be His friends if we obey Him (John 15:14). To love God means to do what He tells us to do (1 John 5:3-4).

We conclude with the remarkable warning of Paul to the Corinthians, in 1 Corinthians 16:14: "LET ALL THAT YOU DO BE DONE WITH LOVE."