You may have heard it before – that the answer to your troubles is that you need a greater revelation of God’s love.
In some circles there’s been an endless pursuit of this greater revelation in recent years. Sometimes it seems that next elusive level of revelation is the key to receiving the manifestation of all God’s promises, being delivered from bondage to sin, and finally committing to live wholeheartedly for the Lord.
Don’t get me wrong ~ I get the concept. After all, faith works through love (Gal 5:6) ~ which many interpret to mean that our faith can only work to the degree that we believe and receive God’s love for us and others. So I would never want to invalidate the idea that we should pursue an increasing understanding and awareness of God’s love. I’m extraordinarily grateful that I can say from much experience that God reveals His personal love to us in myriads of beautiful, breathtaking, and intricate ways. When we’re walking in intimate relationship with Him as He desires, these will be a normal part of His interaction with us. He longs for us to be sensitive to the things He does, to take notice, celebrate, and be thankful for all the ways He reveals Himself and His love to us as we walk with Him day by day. And I think this is the heart behind what we’re being encouraged to discover in the quest for a “greater revelation” of God’s love.
But is it possible that we may sometimes look for this greater revelation in the wrong ways? Could it be that constantly seeking a greater revelation of God’s love that’s dependent on Him answering our prayers as we desire, meeting our needs according to our timetable and plan, letting us feel another touch of His tangible Presence, and any number of other ways we may look for Him to reveal His love in the present moment, produces a shallow, unstable foundation of faith? What if God wants us to come up higher still, so that our revelation of His love is no longer dependent on all these variables? What if He wants us to go deeper still to the stable, enduring foundation of the Truth of His Word so that we won’t be moved by shifting circumstantial evidence? Will we doubt God’s love and favor if He doesn’t provide us with the best parking space in the lot? If His promises aren’t fulfilled in the way or time we want, will we question His credibility or care? In a season where His love is best demonstrated through discipline instead of doting, will we be offended and turn away? If His Spirit leads us into a wilderness of testing and trial where we can’t feel His tangible touch as before, will we fear that He’s left us? Will painful circumstances that persist in spite of applying all the right spiritual principles cause our faith to be shaken or shattered? Or are we rooted and grounded in a revelation of His love that supersedes circumstances and can hold us stable and secure through the storms of life, knowing nothing can separate us from His love?
It was fifteen years ago when we were first introduced to the trend of everyone talking about how believers need to get a greater revelation of God’s love. Though I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, this message created an aching void that made us feel as if something must be deficient in our relationship with God. Of course, this feeling isn’t inherently bad, since we all need to maintain hunger and humility in our pursuit of knowing God, realizing we always have room to grow. So, over a period of time, I began crying out, telling God how much I needed this greater revelation of His love that everyone was talking about.
Each time I sought Him about this, He answered me the exact same way.
What was His response to this revelation everyone was pursuing?
Time after time He took me to the accounts in Scripture of Jesus’ crucifixion! After receiving this same response several times, I finally began to get it. It was as though He was saying, “Really, beloved? You came into relationship with me many years ago based on believing and receiving the greatest revelation of My love that exists! I suffered in horrific ways and died an agonizing death to make a way for you to be rescued and redeemed from an eternity in hell and brought into everlasting life with Me! Why are you crying out to me for a “greater” revelation of My love when there is NO GREATER REVELATION OF MY LOVE than the one you already believed when you first received Me as Lord and Savior?!”
I can only imagine how any one of us would feel if we had given the life of our only child so someone else could live, yet afterward this person continued to plead with us to reveal, demonstrate, or prove our love. After all He’s already done by sacrificing His Son, think how God must feel when we allow our revelation of His love to be based on whether He’s giving us the specific breakthroughs, blessings, or signs we’re believing for in any given moment.
Again, don’t misunderstand. I’m a huge advocate of people learning to recognize and delight in all the ways God expresses His extravagant individualized love for each one of us on a daily basis as we develop a close personal relationship with Him. But I also want to remind and encourage us, as the Lord reminded me 15 years ago, that we must never lose sight of the truth that God has already given every believer the greatest revelation of His love that can be found through what He did for us on the cross; there’s none greater!
Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. John 13:1
(Amplified version, “He loved them to the last and to the highest degree.”)
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 NASB
So, if we feel our revelation of God’s love is growing dim, we don’t need to seek a new revelation that requires Him to do one more thing to prove His love for us. We just need to go back to the beginning and remember the revelation we received when we first realized the hopelessness of our condition and understood the terrible price Jesus paid to ransom us from the pit of hell and bring us into relationship with Him and the Father. It’s this revelation of His love that we received when we first came to Him that should provide us with the foundation of faith to believe that He loves us enough to fulfill all His other promises.
Isn’t that the point Paul was making in Romans 8:31-32?
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32 NIV
If God was willing to give that which was greatest and most sacrificial for us, how would He not also do all the other things that demonstrate His love for us in “lesser” ways? Clearly this doesn’t mean that once we really grasp this revelation, we’ll finally be able to receive everything we ask for in the way and time we want. As discussed in previous posts, we’ll never reach a level of faith – nor a revelation of God’s love to fuel our faith – that will exempt us from having to inherit certain promises through patient endurance in addition to faith. There is no revelation of God’s love that is the key to receiving instant manifestations every time we pray. But there is a revelation of God’s love that is key to being able to patiently endure in those times that we don’t receive an instant answer, until we see the manifestation of what God promised.
We can and should grow in the length, depth, height, and breadth of the revelation of God’s love in ways that cause Him to become more real and personal to us. We can and should ask God for the power to grasp the full dimensions of His love (Ephesians 3:16-19). But we don’t have to wait for Him to do one more thing for us to begin that process. We can meditate on what He already did when He demonstrated the full extent of His love by laying down His life to save us. We can reignite our first revelation of His love until it becomes alive in our hearts again.
I pray that as we celebrate this Resurrection Sunday, we’ll receive afresh this greatest revelation of God’s love that should be the foundation for every subsequent revelation of His love we receive.
In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him. 10In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins. I John 4:9-10 AMP