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Is God Magic?

A little boy asked his mother one day,
“How can God love everybody? Is He magic?”

He couldn’t understand how anyone — not
even God — could love everyone. After all,
there are so many of us, and some of us are
so unlovable. To a child’s way of thinking it
would take nothing short of magic to be that
loving.

You and I know that God is much more
than magic. He’s our all-powerful heavenly
Father! In John 13:34,35, Jesus said to His
disciples, A new commandment I give unto
you, That ye love one another; as I have loved
you, that ye also love one another. By this
shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if
ye have love one to another.

Jesus knew how unlovable people can be.
He knew how unappreciative, unkind, thoughtless,
selfish, quick to judge and criticize, and
very mean we humans can act. Even within
that intimate circle of the twelve disciples,
there was envy, jealousy, and even murder.
And these were the men upon whom Jesus
was counting. The spread of the gospel
depended upon the disciples showing love to
each other and to others. So to these men,
only a few short hours before His crucifixion,
Jesus gave the supreme command, “Love one
another.” And it should be our number one
priority today.

But that’s just it. We don’t love one another
as we should. In fact, a good many of us
Christians are downright unloving much of the
time. So how do we get the love of God in
our lives?

Where do we begin?

The place to begin is with the people
around us — those in our homes, in our places of
work, in our friendships, and in our churches.
Someone has said we need “an observable
love and openness.” I like that. Love isn’t
love until it begins at home.

I heard of a woman whose husband was
very outgoing, charming, and loving to everyone
outside his home. But, often, to his family
he was moody and irritable. He wasn’t
always outgoing, charming, and loving to
them. In fact, his moodiness and his venting
his anger and frustrations on his wife and children
were destroying the love within his
home.

One day in an effort to help him see what
he was doing, his wife asked, “Honey, why
don’t you save some of your charm for us?”
That took courage, but it helped.

Of course, we all need a place where we
can let some steam off, let our hair down, and
kick our shoes off and relax with those who
will understand and not misjudge us. But
there must be a balance whereby we also
remember to show our love. Continual unloving
mistreatment of those dearest to us will drive
them away. I’ve heard such sad stories
through the years of how people’s hearts have
become hard and cold because the love they
once had for each other had not been nurtured.

Our example is Jesus. I’m sure He didn’t
always find it easy to show love. The Bible
tells us that Jesus was tempted in all points as
we are (see Hebrews 2:18). When the
selfrighteous Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up, it
would have been easy for Him to withhold His
love from those who were cruel, arrogant, and
unjust. But Jesus never yielded to that
temptation. He showed love in the most impossible
of human situations. Jesus was love in action.
He demonstrated His compassion over and
over again in His dealings with those who
desperately needed help, healing, and forgiveness.

Let love be your aim

The Apostle Paul gave the Corinthian
Christians a goal that should be foremost in
our minds as well. He said, “Let love be your
aim” (see 1 Corinthians 14:1). Those words
were preceded by the great love chapter in the
Bible, 1 Corinthians 13. Those verses are so
familiar to everyone, but perhaps their familiarity
has dimmed their meaning. Let’s look at
them.

Though I speak with the tongues of men
and of angels, and have not charity
[love], I
am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling
cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy,
and understand all mysteries, and all
knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I
could remove mountains, and have not

[love],
I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed
the poor, and though I give my body to be
burned, and have not

[love], it profiteth me
nothing.

[Love] suffereth long, and is kind; [love]
envieth not; [love] vaunteth not itself, is not
puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh
not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh
no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in
the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things,
hopeth all things, endureth all things.

[Love] never faileth: but whether there be
prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be
tongues, they shall cease; whether there be
knowledge, it shall vanish away.

And now abideth faith, hope,

[love], these
three; but the greatest of these is
[love]
(1 Corinthians 13:1-8,13).

What a beautiful description of love! This
chapter describes love in three ways — what it
is, what it isn’t, and what it does.

Love is:

  • very patient and kind
  • enduring, without weakening
  • able to bear up under anything
  • ready to believe the best of others
  • loyal no matter the cost
  • a growing thing — growing out of God’s love for and in us.

Love is not:

  • jealous or envious
  • boastful or proud (inflated or puffed up with pride)
  • conceited and arrogant
  • touchy, fretful, or resentful
  • rude and haughty
  • possessive
  • irritable or easily provoked
  • selfish and self-seeking
  • glad about injustice.

Love does:

  • rejoice in the truth
  • not hold grudges
  • hardly notice when others do it wrong
  • not demand its own way
  • hope all things
  • stand its ground in defending someone it loves
  • not fail — does not fade out, become obsolete, or come to an end.

How loving are you?

Do you want to measure your “love
level”? Here’s an exercise that really works. Try
substituting “I” in place of the word love in 1
Corinthians 13. Does it read right? Is that an
accurate description of you? Can you honestly
say, “I am very patient and kind. I am not
easily provoked. I do not hold grudges?

The Bible has so much to say about love.
Here are some other verses to help us
understand the nature of real love. First John 4:8
says, He that loveth not knoweth not God; for
God is love.
That verse says God is love.
That is His nature. He is a heavenly Father
who has divine compassion. And if we are
His children, we must love, too — and not just
those who love us, but even the unlovable.
Jesus said, Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and
pray for them which despitefully use you, and
persecute you; that ye may be the children of
your Father which is in heaven…For if ye love
them which love you, what reward have ye? do
not even the publicans the same?…Be ye
therefore perfect, even as your Father which is
in heaven is perfect
(Matthew 5:44-46,48).

One day a so-called expert on Moses’ law
came to Jesus to test Him. He asked, “Master,
what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Notice Jesus’ reply: “You shall love the
Lord your God with all your heart, and with
all your soul, and with all your strength, and
with all your mind; and your neighbor as
yourself.”

The man, wanting to justify his lack of
love for some people, asked, “And who is my
neighbor?”
(Luke 10:25-29).

You see, he was so much like us. He
wanted to love the lovable, those who were
easy to love. But Jesus said we are to love
without discrimination, the way He loves us.

It’s never too late

Perhaps you feel you’ve been so unloving
in the past, that there is no way you can
salvage your relationships. It’s never too late
with the help of the Lord. It may take time,
but God can do a work of healing in your
heart so that you genuinely love others. His
Word to you is simply this: Commit thy way
unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall
bring it to pass
(Psalm 37:5).

I want you to know that Jack and I love
you. Our prayer is that you will learn to speak
the truth in love and fully grow up in Christ
(see Ephesians 4:15) so that the world will
know that you, too, are one of Christ’s disciples.

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