FIRST LOVED TO LOVE RETREAT IN GREENWICH, CT

John wrote, “God is love.” But there are many other aspects of God’s character. We suggest they are simply various expressions of his love. He is good (Psalm 100:4) and describes his goodness to Moses (Exodus 33:19) as “compassionate . . . gracious . . . slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love . . . and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7). He also says that he “exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth” (Jeremiah 9:24).

Paul wrote that we should “clothe” ourselves with those attributes:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:12-13).

Notice how he concludes: “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:14). All these attributes are indeed various expressions of love.

God also says he is holy (Leviticus 11:44), which has more to do with his “being.” The definition of holy in both Hebrew and Greek applies to God himself because he is totally other, separate, sacred, transcendent, and set apart from every created thing. Paul, describing the “being” of God, writes: “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:15-16).

Clearly, he is “wholly” different from us in being and character—forever pure, true and faithful. This is why we can trust his love with all our hearts.

Lord, thank you that you not only embody what love really is, but that you ARE love! What a gift!! When we don’t know what love looks like, we can turn to you to show us. When we don’t know what love feels like, we can turn to you to love us. When we don’t know how to love someone else, we can turn to you and witness your unfailing and unconditional love for us as an example of how to love others. “No one has ever seen You; but if we love one another, You live in us and Your love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:12). Help us, God to love like you–Father, Son and Spirit. Transform us into the image of Your Son so that we may become more like Him in the ways in which we love. We bless you and love you, Lord! Amen.

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