1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
“There is no subject more exalted to which the human mind can address itself than contemplating and learning of the person and character of God. While God is one in essence, God has three separate and distinct personalities yet is one God. The three persons of the Trinity are co-eternal, co-infinite, and co-equal in essence and attributes. The “Godhead” is defined as the essence of being God.” R.B. Thieme, Jr.
There are several propositions about God that we all must understand in order to have a relationship with Him and love Him. God exists; God reveals Himself; When God reveals Himself, it makes sense; God has a plan and purpose for your life as an individual. If you can say, “I am a human being.”, then you can conclude that God has an eternal plan for you personally. God is perfect, and His plan is perfect. Perfect God can only create a perfect plan. However, God has created a perfect plan for imperfect persons.
With an understanding of these basic facts and concepts about God, you are prepared to enter into a personal relationship with Him. Yet if we ignore these facts and instead concentrate on our relationship with the world, as noted in 1 John 2:15-17, we will not have the foundation to personally love Him.
Personal love means you love because the object of your love is lovable. You are focused on the object of your love and its virtue.
Therefore, Personal Love for God the Father is first based on His divine perfection, integrity, righteousness, and justice.
Secondly, we love God because of the fact that He loved us first, before we ever loved Him.
Rom 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died as a substitute for us.”
1 John 4:19, “We love, because He first loved us.”
God the Father is lovable because of who He is and His actions toward us – His virtue.
Whether you are a winner or loser believer, there is no greater security than the Personal Love of God for the believer. You have never been and never will be abandoned by God. Heb 13:5; Deut 31:6; Josh 1:5
Since God has loved us from eternity past and has done everything necessary so that we could enter into relationship with Him, we should have a sense of obligation to reciprocate His love by loving Him back. But how do we do that?
First and foremost it is through our love for Jesus Christ. Believe it or not, when you express your love towards Jesus Christ, you are expressing your love towards the Father.
John 8:42, “Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.” See also John 14: all and 15:9-11.
When we express our love towards Jesus Christ, we are expressing our love towards the Father. Likewise, when we express our love towards the Father, we are expressing our love for Jesus Christ.
So you might ask the question, “How do I express my love towards Jesus Christ?”.
First, we learn to love the Lord through metabolized Bible doctrine circulating in the stream of consciousness in the soul. Bible Doctrine is the Word of God, the mind of Jesus Christ. John 1:1; 1 Cor 2:16
Second, we learn to respect the Lord through divine discipline from the divine love found in the integrity of God. Heb 12:6, 10; Rev 3:19
Heb 12:10b, “He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.”
Through God’s Word and His parental discipline, we come to learn about and love Him.
1 John 2:5, “But whoever guards His word, truly in him the love for God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.”
1 John 5:2, “By this we verify the fact that we keep on loving the children of God, when we love God and execute His mandates.”
Rev 3:19, ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” See also Psa 119:75; Heb 12:5-11
Zealous is the Present Active Imperative of ZELEUO and means, “to have warmth of feeling for”. So even through divine discipline, we come to a closer relationship with the Father in love.
Repent is the Greek word METANOEO in the Aorist Active Imperative. It means to change your way of thinking. In other words, change your way of life and thinking from sin and cosmic living to personal love for God by keeping His commandments. John 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1 John 5:2-3; 2 John 1:6
1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”
1) We learn to love the Father through metabolized Bible doctrine, (the mind of Christ, 1 Cor 2:16b), circulating in the stream of consciousness.
2) We learn to respect the Father through divine discipline from that divine love found in the integrity of God.
In addition to our love being based on the Father and the Son, our love for God exists because of the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
Rom 5:5, “And confidence does not disappoint us, because the love for God has been poured out in our hearts [stream of consciousness] through the agency of the Holy Spirit who was given to us for our benefit.”
Therefore all three members of the Trinity are involved in our Personal Love for God the Father. This tells us that we have 100% availability of divine power residing in and leading us to have and express Personal Love for God the Father.
Likewise, we are exhorted to love each member of the Trinity.
2 Cor 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.”
In addition, our capacity for loving God the Father does not come from emotional streaks of gratitude, but from the mechanics of the spiritual life.
Capacity for loving God is based on:
1) Knowledge of Bible doctrine, rather than emotion.
2) Application of Bible doctrine through the Problem Solving Devices, rather than emotional stimulation in the sphere of self-gratification.
The appropriate mechanics for loving God includes an emotional response to the Word of God resident in your soul as a result of the teaching and leading ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
Our emotions should never lead in worship; they must always follow. This means we respond to the Word through the leading and guiding ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
1) Emotion without knowledge is neither worship nor a demonstration of love; it is self-gratification.
2) Emotion as a result of knowledge is worship and demonstrates love for God; it is propitiation.
3) Love for God includes gratitude, but gratitude does not necessarily imply love for God.
The Church Age believer cannot have Personal Love for God the Father or a true perspective of the spiritual life unless he becomes cognizant of the potential for true love for God in his own soul. This is only accomplished through the consistent intake and application of God’s Word in faith.
Every believer is responsible for the success or the failure of his or her own spiritual life. God has provided everything necessary for your success in your very own Portfolio of Invisible Assets.
Therefore, Personal Love for God the Father in your soul cannot co-exist with the arrogance complex of sins.
1) To the extent that you entertain bitterness, you have no respect for God.
2) To the extent you have guilt in your thinking, you have no respect for God. This includes fear, worry, anxiety, jealousy, vindictiveness, vilification, malice, and revenge.
3) To the extent you enter into these sins, you enter into irrationality and do not have respect for God. You destroy any possibility of fulfilling the spiritual life. Irrational people do not love. 1 John 4:7-21
1 John 4:8; “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love….11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another…. 18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19We love, because He first loved us. 20If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”
With Personal Love for God the Father, everything else in the spiritual life will fall into place.
Personal Love For God the Father (PLfGtF) as a Problem Solving Device.
As we have previously noted, a Personal Sense of Destiny (Problem Solving Device number six) operating within your soul is the dividing line between spiritual childhood and spiritual adulthood. A Personal Sense of Destiny is analogous to Spiritual Self-Esteem, entrance into the adult spiritual life. Then Personal Love for God the Father is the first adult Problem Solving Device.
As we move from spiritual childhood to spiritual adulthood, we realize more and more of what God the Father has done for us and with that knowledge we love Him more and more every day.
Therefore, PLfGtF is based on your understanding and assurance of the common questions you found answers to as a growing believer, including:
1) How did the love of God solve the most devastating problem in life; the spiritual death of man, which occurs at physical birth the moment God breathes human life to your soul? How did God solve that problem?
He solved that problem through the substitutionary spiritual death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. John 3:14-21; Rom 5:8
John 3:14-21, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
2) If God was able to solve the biggest problem in your life, your spiritual death, is He able to solve any other problems that comes along?
Through the death and resurrection of our Lord, He demonstrated His love for us regarding the biggest problem. That same demonstration of love is available to solve all our other problems in life. Luke 12:22-34; Rom 5:9-11, 17
Luke 12:28, “But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!”
Rom 5:9-11, 17, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation….17For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
3) How am I going to have a love for an invisible God?
There is only one way; we have to know God.
Our spiritual life is related to the thinking of God as mentioned in 1 Cor 2:16, “But we have the mind of Christ.”.
The whole system of love and the spiritual life is a system of thinking Bible doctrine. Rom 5:5; Eph 3:14-19; Col 2:2-3
Rom 5:5 NLT, “And this expectation (hope 2) will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.”
Col 2:2, “That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
You cannot think what you do not know. If you don’t know you can’t have Personal Love for God.
4) How does God enable us to understand what is normally beyond our comprehension? His spiritual phenomena; the doctrine of the inerrant word of God.
How does God accomplish the seemly impossible task of communicating to the finite minds of mankind those perfect divine attributes related to the integrity of God?
God has revealed Himself to our finite minds through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in verbal plenary inspiration, resulting in the infallible word of God. Psa 138:2; 1 Cor 2:13; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21
2 Tim 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
2 Pet 1:20-21, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
1 Cor 2:13. “Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual with spiritual.”
The infallible word of God, known to us as the Bible, contains the mind, the faculty of thinking of Christ.
1 Cor 2:16, “For who has known the mind (thinking) of the Lord that we should instruct Him? But we have the thinking of Christ.”
The thinking of Christ is equivalent to Bible doctrine, but to us in the dispensation of the Church, it is a specific kind of Bible doctrine. In Eph 3:3-10; Col 1:26-27; Eph 5:32 and 1 Tim 3:16 it is called “the Mystery Doctrine” or “this mystery”.
Rom 16:25-26 gives the definition of mystery doctrine, “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel, the preaching of Jesus Christ on the basis of the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.”
This mystery doctrine is part of your Portfolio of Invisible Assets, your spiritual heritage.
Now that we have understood God’s love for us and His provisions enabling us to love him; we have to ask ourselves a few more questions.
1) If you can’t love the children of God who you see everyday, how can you love an invisible God? 1 John 4:11-5:2
Answer: You can not.
You can not love someone you have not seen, when you cannot even love someone you have seen.
God gives us instruction and power to love His children. Yet if we do not know His Word and how to utilize His power to love, we are hopeless to love others, never mind God Himself.
One of the major attributes of God is love; therefore, He is love, 1 John 4:8, 16. All that He does is based on love, (Just as everything He does is based on the combination of all of His attributes.).
Everything He thinks is related to love. Therefore, the mind of Christ is the thinking of love.
So how can you love God without His thinking in you? How can you love anyone without getting to know them? You cannot.
Therefore it is vital to know the mind of Christ so that we can truly understand how to love, both God and His children.
2) God loves you. Do you love God?
In relation to the right man and right woman in marriage, there are two categories of love. Understanding both of these categories teaches us how to love God.
The man is commanded to love His wife. Eph 5:25-33; 1 Peter 3:7
Col 3:19, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.” (“embittered” is the Present, Passive, Imperative of PIKRAINO [pik-rah’ee-no] = sharp, i.e. caustic, harsh or crass);
In this command he is to bring an aggressive love called enduring devotion to the marriage.
The word aggressive means a vigorous initiative.
In relation to God, the man’s vigorous initiative is shown by his persistence in the perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine through the function of the two power options, (the filling of the Spirit and metabolization of Bible doctrine).
His aggressiveness is focused on the vigorous pursuit of God.
The woman then brings a responding love called respect to the marriage. Eph 5:22-24, 5:33b; Col 3:18; Titus 2:4; 1 Peter 3:1-6
Col 3:18, “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”
To have submissiveness and respect to your husband who may not be respectable takes a tremendous amount of humility. This genuine humility can only be accomplished when she has adorned her heart with the Word of God.
Now, not to leave the children out; children are commanded to obey their parents. Eph 6:1-3; Col 3:20
Col 3:20, “Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.”
So the aspect of simple adherence to what is said is how a child demonstrates his love towards his parents and towards God.
But, getting back to the right man and right woman categories of love, we (male and female believers) have to have both categories of true love in order to love God.
We must have an enduring devotion toward God as an aggressive function of our soul.
We must also have respect for God because respect is our response to His grace, which is the ultimate expression of God’s love directed toward us.
Therefore, respect is our response to that part of divine integrity called God’s love.
True love must always be related to integrity, God’s and ours.
a) If we do not respond to God’s integrity we do not love him.
b) If we do not personally possess integrity through aggressive perception, metabolization, and application of Bible Doctrine, there is no true love for God or anyone else.
Since the believers’ response to the love of God (as expressed by His grace) is the passive part of our love for God, our respect demands the fulfillment of 1 Peter 5:5-6. Compare with James 4:6.
James 4:6, “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore, it [Prov 3:34] says, `God makes war against the arrogant, but gives grace to the humble.’”
1 Peter 5:5-6, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
We only learn to love God in the status quo of humility. Arrogance in our soul resists the truth of His Word and defeats any expressions of true love. 1 Peter 3:8-12
1 Peter 3:8-12, “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 10For, “The one who desires life, to love and see good days, Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. 11“He must turn away from evil and do good; He must seek peace and pursue it. 12“For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, And His ears attend to their prayer, But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.””
What causes the believer to get all fouled up in his life, when in the past he has been very clear in his understanding of Bible doctrine?
It begins with reaction to something in fear or bitterness, leading to reversionistic focus on his situation or status.
When focus becomes on self, he then begins a frantic search for happiness.
The frantic search for happiness leads to greater frustration and further unhappiness.
If unchecked, you continue to spiral downward in reversionism being further away from your personal love and relationship with God.
That’s why we are exhorted to wait anxiously on the Lord.
Waiting anxiously is your soul response to the love of God.
Jude 21, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”
Rom 8:28, “For we know that to those who love God, He causes all things to work together for good, to those who are elected on the basis of a predetermined plan.”
Jam 1:12, “Blessed is the person who perseveres under testing; because when he becomes approved, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.”
The frantic search for happiness is analogous to children at Christmas time. Their parents love them and buy presents to give to them on Christmas morning. The children anxiously wait with excitement and anticipation for that morning to open the presents from their parents. When they finally receive the presents, they are filled with joy, love, and appreciation towards their parents who gave them the gifts. (Well at least it happens that way in the movies!). Now what happens when the child does not patiently wait for Christmas morning and goes hunting for the hidden presents and finds them. Well, he is excited initially upon the discovery but come Christmas morning, he is tremendously disappointment because he already knows what he is receiving and the usual built up excitement is not their. So the moral of the story is, if we try to find happiness on our own, we will have it for only a moment. But that happiness pales in comparison to waiting anxiously on the Lord and receiving in His timing. When we do, the exhilaration and appreciation is much greater.
This is the point in Mat 7:7-11 and Luke 11:9-13.
Luke 11:9, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10“For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11“Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12“Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
We get all fouled up in this life when we try to achieve our own success and happiness instead of petitioning our Father in love and waiting anxiously on His timing and answers.
Even though in the past we have been very clear in our understanding of Bible doctrine and God’s plan for our lives, we can easily lose our focus and revert back to satisfying ourselves in our own time and in our own way.
You can do that but the results will be greatly diminished from what God had planned for you.
And when you endeavor under the frantic search for happiness, you are saying to the Father in essence, “You do not love me; therefore, I’m going to accomplish this on my own”. And that is a demonstration that you do not have personal love for God the Father.
Through the simple reminder of Problem Solving Device number seven, you can catch yourself in times of frustration before you go out and frantically search for happiness on your own.
In conclusion of our study of PLfGtF, there are five concepts of virtue-love that we can apply to understand our Personal love towards God the Father.
1) Motivation. Motivation for all true love comes from having personal love for God the Father.
The more you know Him (through His Word) the more motivation you will have as appreciation for what He has done, is doing, and will do for you.
2) Capacity. All true love must have a capacity.
The capacity is mental or perceptive ability.
Capacity for true love depends on Bible doctrine metabolized and circulating in the six compartments of the heart of your soul.
There is no capacity for love until you have Bible doctrine circulating in your stream of consciousness and you are functioning under the filling of the Spirit.
3) Verification. Verification confirms the authenticity and accuracy of your motivation based on your capacity to love God.
With the filling of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God resident in your soul, you should assess your motivation to love God to determine if it is pure and based on the capacity within your soul.
There are many un-pure, self-motivated individuals running around in the Church today professing to love God. Yet if you ask them a biblical question regarding their faith and actions, they will not be able to respond. In that type, there is no capacity to love and their motivation is self-motivated.
Your capacity for love and motivation depend on the filling of the Spirit, Bible doctrine circulating in the stream of consciousness, your utilization of the three spiritual skills, and the deployment of the Ten Problem Solving Devices (PSD’s).
When you deploy and use the 10 PSD’s, there is verification of your love towards God.
4) Validity. Validity is advancing in the adult spiritual life, having maximum glorification of God.
When you advance through the three stages of Spiritual Adulthood (Spiritual Self Esteem, Spiritual Autonomy and Spiritual Maturity) you have demonstrated your motivation, capacity, and verification of Love towards God.
In the third stage of the adult spiritual life, you join the Lord Jesus Christ as witnesses for God against Satan in Satan’s appeal trial.
5) Reality. Reality is the doctrinal principle that Christians can love God the Father personally and each other impersonally.
This is the function of virtue-love as a Problem Solving Device.
Rom 5:5, “Hope does not disappoint us, because the love for God has been poured out in our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
The fantastic things provided for those who attain personal love for God the Father are absolutely beyond description.
Rom 8:28, “We know, therefore, that to those who love God, He works all things together for good to those who are elected according to a predetermined plan.”
1 Cor 2:9, “But just as it stands written, `Things which the eye has not seen, and it has not entered into the right lobe of mankind all that God has prepared for those who love Him.'”
Personal Love for God the Father provides motivation for the advancement in the spiritual life. Rom 14:19; Gal 5:7 (pursuing, running after God)
Personal Love means positive volition towards God, applying enforced and genuine humility, objectivity, and teachability.