We’ve been discussing the true motivation of God toward mankind. We have looked at John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world.” He loved the world. That is why Jesus came, to put on display the love of God. In our quest to understand the motivation of God we need to determine who God is, that is, what His character is.

1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love.” 1 Corinthians 13 gives us the definition of love. It says that “love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres and never fails.”

Combining these references, we find ourselves asking how much of Christianity is missing something in understanding and application of the love of God. We seem to believe that “God is love.” Yet, we actually have a serious disconnect with defining Him as love. Our definition is flawed, and thus, our presentation of God to the world is flawed. Is love prideful? Is God prideful?

Pride. It’s the cause of Lucifer’s fall from angelic status to that of being the enemy of God and all mankind. What is pride? Pride is rooted in the belief of not needing anyone else. It is the belief that you cannot nor will be vulnerable. To show weakness is to open your heart in total honesty to another. This kind of weakness is perceived as unacceptable. It is unacceptable because the culture of man values independence and the grittiness of our most adored tough guy hero or heroine.

Many of us have been raised to believe God is prideful. We have heard such things about God such as: He doesn’t need anyone. We were created for one purpose only, to serve Him. We are supposed to worship Him in obedience and if we don’t, He will chastise and judge us. Does this sound like love? Taken at face value, it sounds more narcissistic than loving. A narcissist is one who is self-centered, has an exaggerated sense of self-importance and an excessive admiration of one’s self. Sad to say but this is the image of God that’s been taught for centuries.

But, is God this way? The answer is simple. No, He is not. He did not create us only to worship Him. He is love. Love needs expression. Did He need us? No. But He chose to create us to express Himself fully. In creating us, He made Himself vulnerable. By doing this, He created a need in His own heart. He created us in His image, which resulted in us having the same vulnerability and need. Now, both He and us have a need for a relationship of love, a need to love and be loved.

God displayed His love for us in becoming totally vulnerable to human need. This is authentic humility. Born in a barn, working as a carpenter, and dying in our place. And for what? Our obedience and worship? Hardly. He became a man to show us the great love and desire He had for our heart, for us to know Him and be known by Him.

Richard Hamm has been in ministry since 1977. He graduated from Rhema Bible College in 1984 and came to be the pastor of New Life Family Church in the Gettysburg area, serving from 1985 to 2008. He is presently involved in a traveling ministry helping churches in south central Pennsylvania, northern Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia and Tennessee. He can be contacted at 717-253-3247 or at rhhamm2@gmail.com.

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