This week on the First15 podcast we’ll spend time stirring up our affections for God through the renewing of our minds. Your mind is the gateway to your affections. What you think is worthy of your affections is what will receive them. So, as we grow in our understanding of God’s overwhelming goodness we will naturally give him our hearts. May you be stirred by the unconditional love of your heavenly Father this week as his perfect nature is revealed to you in greater, more transformative ways.
“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God, a sweet fragrance.” Ephesians 5:2 AMP
Reckless Love | Cory Asbury
The official acoustic version of “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury.
Think about the death of Jesus for a moment. Picture how horrific the scene would have been to witness in person. Now try and imagine witnessing it from the Father’s perspective. Think about how he saw, heard, felt, knew, and wept over everything that happened to Jesus. Think about how he felt placing the sin of the world, the sin of you and me, on the shoulders of his perfect and undeserving Son.
I ask you to imagine all of that for one reason—to gain perspective on the unfathomable love of God as expressed in Ephesians 5:2. Scripture says, “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God, a sweet fragrance.” When I read that verse initially I skipped over a life changing phrase: “a sweet fragrance.” With all the Father witnessed that day, with all the suffering Jesus faithfully endured, God still considers Jesus’ death “a sweet fragrance.” How is that possible? How could anyone consider the death of Jesus a sweet fragrance, let alone the Father?
Such is the incredible depth of God’s love for us that he would count the atrocities committed against his Son as a sweet fragrance. Such is the enormity of God’s desire for restored relationship with us that he would look upon the death of his Son with favorable remembrance.
I don’t think we as God’s children understand the joy our Father feels when we spend time with him. I don’t think we understand the depth of his love that he would pay the highest price simply to have unhindered relationship with us again. While meditating on this Scripture I realized I had never once thought about how tirelessly God has been working since Adam and Eve sinned simply to be able to enjoy his people again—to walk with them as he once had.
The death of Jesus was a turning point in the scope of eternity. His sacrifice meant a change from all of humanity opposing God to the crown of his creation returning to his fold. When God placed the sin of humanity on Christ’s shoulders he was able to take the position of the father in the story of the prodigal son, running out to meet us as we are—his children finally able to return home to him for good.
God so longed for communion with you that he paid the ultimate price. He counts you worthy of the death of his Son. Let that truth shape your identity. Let God’s love be the foundation for your perspective, thoughts, emotions and actions today. May your heart be stirred to live in light of God’s unconditional love. May you be rooted in the unshakable nature of your heavenly Father. And may you live today in the eternal embrace of God, knowing that you are wholly and forever his beloved.
1. Meditate on the sacrifice of Jesus. Allow Scripture to form a foundation of unconditional love for your heart.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” 1 Peter 3:18
“He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12
2. Meditate on who you are as a child of God. Form your identity around the truth of Scripture.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9
3. Ask God to reveal the depth of his love for you. Rest in the reality of his nearness. Let him fill your heart with his love to overflowing.
“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19
“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
Don’t let the opinion of others sway you from your firm foundation of God’s love. What is the opinion of man in comparison to the perspective of God? If God counts relationship with you worth the death of Jesus, you are that valuable. Cast aside the fickle thoughts of others for the truthful, life-giving love of your heavenly Father. Rest in his presence and find hope and security in the truth that his arms are always open to you—ready to embrace you just as you are.