Devotional Word for Thursday, April 30, 2020
Let’s start off today with a devastating statement by the Lord Jesus. It’s found in John 5:42. Jesus is speaking with leaders of the Jewish community in Jerusalem. As He speaks with them, here is what He tells them He knows about them. It is devastating. I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. Why is that so devastating? For two reasons: 1) The first and greatest commandment to the Jews and to all humanity, is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and 2) Because this assessment is not character assassination by an enemy, but an accurate appraisal by the Son of God. Jesus tells them, “You do not love God, there’s not an ounce of love for God in your inner man.”
We need to remember Jesus says this to eminently respectable men. They were leaders in their community, looked up to by the vast majority of people, and listened to when they spoke. Now Jesus says they have no love of God in their inner man, regardless how much His name may be on their lips. Unless something drastic happens, they will perish under God’s judgment.
There’s another verse of Scripture parallel to this and it is equally devastating. It is 2 Thessalonians 2:10. Paul is describing people committed to wickedness, people who are enthralled by the deceptions of the devil. He describes them as those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. Again, a devastating indictment. The definite article “the” is important. Not just truth, but THE truth. The Bible makes clear that love of the truth and love of God go hand in hand. Anyone who lacks them will perish. So how does one come to love God and to love the truth?
A crucial text in Scripture that answers that question is found in Romans, chapter five, verse five. Here’s what it says: the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. There are two things we need to note from this verse: 1) it is apparent we do not naturally possess within ourselves the love of God, it must be given to us; and 2) the means by which we receive the love of God is the Holy Spirit, that is, it comes from God Himself. It requires a work of God in our lives.
That is what Jesus was telling the Jewish leaders. Without question, they had lots of knowledge, even knowledge about the Scriptures. That’s all well and good. But it is not enough. That can all be gotten by human effort. But the love of God and the love of the truth cannot come by human effort. We can and should seek such love, but it requires the work of the Holy Spirit to have such love.
Here’s the point for us today: we need the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Daily. Regularly. Our default position as humans is to trust in ourselves, not in God. That’s what happened with the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day. That’s what’s happened to universities in our land. That’s what’s happened with some denominations in our time. We don’t want to end up in a similar position. So, every day let us ask God to spread abroad in our hearts the Holy Spirit, so that we can love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Let us pray: O God, we do seek You and seek to love You with all our being. Send forth the Holy Spirit into us afresh each day. We are hungry for You and for Your Truth. Help us be faithful, fruitful disciples of Jesus, our Savior, and the Lord of all. Amen.