I was reading Psalm 103, a Psalm of David. And I love it. It spoke to my heart. I'm so glad that even when I can be so consumed with everything swirling around me that God still wants me to stop and consume me with His love.
Psalm 103 says,
It's just God!
Verse 4 - He redeems your life and CROWNS you with love and compassion. The ESV says He crowns you with steadfast love and compassion. The NASB says lovingkindness and compassion.
Verse 8 - “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”
Verse 10 - “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Praise God that He does not treat us as we deserve...He paid the highest price so He could forgive us – He gave His son Jesus for us!
Verse 12 - “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” He gave Jesus as our sacrifice so that He could remove our transgressions from US as far as the east is from the west. I am so humbled by that. I should be.
And in my humanity – I often forget how compassionate and loving God has been towards me even in my affliction, my joy, my life...and I stop with a broken heart to ask Him to forgive me yet again that He has to remind me of Him. God loves us and wants us to be like Him – to love others – Paul's writings continually challenge us to love like Jesus loved – and I was brought around in my Study Bible to Romans 12:9-21 and I just stopped.
Romans 12 says,
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."
21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
That's what love should look like in our humanity as we come closer to the heart of God; being conformed more to His image than to the world. Verse 9 – is brutally honest – Love must be sincere. Sincere. The ESV says let love be genuine and the NASB, let love be without hypocrisy. Ouch. Yeah, recover from how insincere and disingenuous we can all be and keep reading...It says to be devoted to one another, honor one another above yourselves, keep your spiritual fervor – the next verse struck home -- “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” - How I struggle with that – don't we all if we're honest in some way? I am so grateful God is patiently teaching me how to be more like Him – ever so grateful, my lessons since we've followed God to Georgia have been tough for me, but it's because God loves me – He wants me to BE for Him – He wants ME – He wants me to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. I want to be – oh I am so glad he loves me with His steadfast love and compassion – that it is my crown as Psalm 103 says. Ever so glad! That's my heart today – I hope it encouraged yours!