Why should we spend time alone with God? Why is meeting with God in the secret place so important? Until we gain an understanding of the immense value and availability of encountering God, we will never consistently engage in this foundational, vital practice. As we discover God’s heart to meet with us in order that we might experience the depths of his love, I pray that your life would be marked by a new grace to consistently and powerfully encounter the living God.
If there is one major theme in the narrative of Scripture it’s the power of God’s love. It was his love that caused our creation. It was in love that he offered mankind grace even in our continual rebellion. It was his love that sent Jesus to rescue us, and it’s his love that will win at our final redemption—the gathering of all of God’s people for the great wedding feast.
God is love. He can do nothing apart from love. Jesus says in Mark 12:30-31 that all of the commandments are summed up for us in one word—love. You were created to be loved by God and to love him and others in return. And you will never find satisfaction until you rest in the unconditional love of your heavenly Father. You will never find true purpose until you live to love God and others.
To live for love is to step outside of the ways and cares of this world and live for the kingdom of God. It’s to choose to root yourself in the unconditional affection of your heavenly Father rather than seeking fulfillment from the fickle love of mankind. It’s to choose to serve and give rather than looking to receive from a world that has so little to offer. To live for love is to seek first God and his ways and thereby receive the fullness of life only he can give.
When you begin your days in the presence of God, you lay for yourself a foundation of God’s unconditional love. To allow God to invade the first moments of your day with the truth of his love for you will strengthen you to stop looking for fulfillment in the things of the world. It is impossible to live for love as Jesus commands unless we first receive daily the perfect, powerful love of our heavenly Father. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
My hope and prayer is that First15 could be a beneficial resource for you to encounter the love of God. I pray this love fills your heart to overflowing, and then in response to the love of God you advance his kingdom of love on earth. God’s love for you is so intense, so purposeful, and so abundant that just a taste of it has the power to shift your life from one lived selfishly to one lived sacrificially. May his love stir your affections for him and others. May you live a life transformed by the love of your heavenly Father today. May you live for love.
1. Receive God’s presence. Take time to focus on his nearness, on how it changes your outlook and emotions. Spend the majority of your prayer time today on this point, just being overwhelmed by the depth of God’s love.
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” Psalm 139:7
2. Give God your affections in return. Tell him you love him. Tell him you love how he makes you feel. Thank him for the work he is doing in your life.
3. Ask God to help you live for others. Ask him to show you where he is working in the lives of those around you. Ask him to reveal how he would have you partner with him today in advancing his Kingdom.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
Take a moment to read Ephesians 3:16-19, which so perfectly sums up the power and reality of love: