(In 2017, I wrote this series for the 40 days prior to Easter to prepare our hearts and minds for the significance of Jesus’ resurrection. I’m reposting the series now for the 40 days after Easter to encourage us to follow through, living in the risen Savior and King.)
A warm hug in our fleece robes, blurry eyes, smiles and a kiss (with coffee breath) and conversations about the coming events of the day. Those are some of the ways Lauren Dillard and I usually begin Valentines Day to celebrate our commitment to reach other.
But displays of affection are not the foundation or security of our love for each other. They are reflections of the foundation which God has secured in our spirits: new life that He is molding because of His commitment to His covenant of grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. But before I say anything more about “covenant”, let’s think for a minute about commitment and security.
Imagine graphing your love for your spouse (or, if you’re not married, for a family member or best friend) as a pie chart. I know it’s not very romantic. Just hang with me for a minute.
How much of the pie would represent your commitment to them – no matter what? If they often ignored you, lied to you, cheated on you, and shamed your name to others because of their actions, what level of your commitment to be faithful and give all of yourself to them would still be there? 30%? 80%? 5% How much would be based on what they do for you over time? 10%? 70%?
God’s Word says that no human being is perfectly selfless and faithful to anyone (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:9-20 and 7:14-24, etc.)
In fact, King David recorded this tragic truth twice almost verbatim in Psalms 14 and 53.
Now, how should we graph God’s love on a pie chart? Not His sentiment, but His committed action to the growth, blessing and security of His people?
Scripture says that 100% of our security is in God: the Father’s plan, the Spirit’s work, the Son’s death and resurrection on behalf of His own. (Genesis 15, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:22-28, John 6:35-45, Romans 8:28-39, Ephesians 1:3-14 and 2:1-10, etc.)
Not even a sliver of the pie belongs to our work. Not our level of faith, for faith is His gift (Ephesians 2:1-10). Not our decision or our relatives’ faith or our running the race of good works, for new life comes by Him re-birthing a dead spirit (John 1:1-18). Not our baptism, for true baptism is His outward mark of His inward work (1 Corinthians 1 and 10:1ff). Not our perseverance, for He keeps us. We do not keep ourselves (John 6:35ff).
In God’s covenant with Abraham – the picture of God’s secure love in the Old Testament and the New – we see that God’s promises are not dormant on us at all. God even put Abraham to sleep and went through the pieces of the dead animals alone to show that “if either of us breaks this covenant, I, the Lord God Almighty, will die.” (Romans 4)
And we did break His covenant. We still break it everytime we give less than 100% to Him. And He, the Lord God Jesus did die. . . In the place of all who would rest in Him. . . taking their guilt upon Himself and ascribing to them His righteousness that they do not deserve to secure His love forever.
Does your spirit ache from your faithlessness and rebellion toward God? Do you long to belong to and please this Lord? Are you amazed and overjoyed at Jesus’ perfectly effective sacrifice? If so, then His Spirit is already opening your heart. He has begun a secure love that will never let you go. He is recreating you to have such a strong love for Him that you will begin to die daily to your old selfish desires and live for Him.
Even if it costs you everything, like it cost Valentine. If you’re not familiar with his story, it’s worth your time to look it up. You’ll find a joy much richer than chocolate.