Love is…to be received first…
To build upon the newer revelation of Attachment Love, I have been looking through that lens as I read about LOVE in the Bible. There is so much to learn about how we do this, and what if this newly revealed concept of attachment love is the key to unlock the “HOW” to love well?
When I think about those areas of my life where love is hard…where my flesh wants to lash out, and sometimes does to be honest, I am seeing through this new lens. This is a new way of understanding love and how I am allowing Scripture to renew my mind around the entire topic of Love.
Love is a word that the world uses so casually, so easily. I am seeing now how that is a ploy to cheapen, to dilute, to lessen the awareness of what Love truly is. We can love chocolate and we can love a newborn. How do we really define love? We have all heard that “love isn’t a feeling, it’s a verb” and Bob Goff started a movement from his book, “Love Does”. This is true, but what if it is only partly true? What if it is just the beginning of the revelation of love.
I was given the opportunity to share with my church in July 2018 about Words that Mean Something to me. I love the Bible and was not sure what God wanted me to share. He landed me on John 13, the story of where Jesus washed the disciple’s feet. I groaned, literally out loud, to Him. I know how people react when we wash feet- they get weird, self-conscious, “not me Lord”, and literally reenact the story of Peter in this encounter. So, I sat with God and asked Him what He wanted me to share about this very well-known story. What He revealed to me was so amazing.
Many know that Jesus is communicating about master and servant status; we also learn here about only our feet need cleansing, as Jesus says in John 13:10 as the rest of us is already clean. Our feet are where we touch the world. Interesting point Jesus is making here. We must remember we are already clean in Him, AND to wash each other’s feet as an act of helping towards each other. Much like a friend would say, “you have lettuce in your teeth”, or a stronger rebuttal of “that didn’t sound like something Jesus would want you to say, my friend.” I have had both and am so grateful for the One Anothers that the Lord has given me that will speak directly to me in a loving way.
We also learn here in this chapter something very profound, that I had not seen before in this Bible story. This is the last act that Jesus did with the disciples before going to the Cross. Jesus was teaching them to receive! He also spoke to them saying “from now on, I will tell you what is going to happen” and He does. He clearly states this and then follows through in John 14, 15, 16, and 17. There are no more parables, just straight talk. However, the huge nugget that I uncovered when studying to share that summer weekend at church, was that Believing is Receiving. This was HUGE for me. It was like a neon sign that went off in my brain, and I was able to share with many what God had showed me. It is clearly there, just read this verse. For greater impact, read it out loud, right now.
John 13:20 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
The word receive (or lambano in Greek) is used 4 times in this verse, and means to ‘take hold of, carry forward and use’. Also, as a side note, the word ‘truly’ is from Greek “amen” which means “so it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled”. Jesus desperately wants the disciples (and us!) to receive the Father.
What are we to receive? According to that verse, we are to receive the Father. That is the whole purpose of Jesus coming and doing all He did while here, including the full work of the Cross: life, death, resurrection, and ascension. We are to receive the love of the Father – this reconciliation that is spoken of by Paul in 2 Cor 5:17-18, by the way the only ministry we have been given as new creations. And God is love as John tells us in his epistle 1 John chapter 4, verses 8 and 16.
How do we receive this love? There is so much striving in the Church to love well, to do things to show God’s love, to love our enemies. What if we all pause, and take inventory and ask ourselves “have I received the Love of the Father, as He intends me to have?” Receiving His love is the place we all start. We get to receive the unconditional Love of the Father because of all Jesus did on that Cross for us. He became all sin for us, and our only response is to receive it and then apply this to our lives.
This is so counter culture where we have to exchange things to receive…just think about that last awkward moment when someone brought a gift for you and you had nothing to give them in return…what is that visceral response we all recoil into? It is time for the Church to fully receive the LOVE that the Father has for His Beloved.
If we each do that, truly rest, and receive the Love of God into our souls, what might we be able to do? When we attach ourselves, and truly identify with the Father, receiving His love, how might we be able to respond to others? How might we truly be able to love our enemies? We cannot give something we do not have. We love, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19) Have you received the love of the Father in this way?