February means Valentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day means that love becomes a focus.
You may know of the four words for love in Greek as they were explained in C.S. Lewis’s book, “The Four Loves.” While there are wider semantic meanings to these words, here is a basic introduction to the four loves.
Storge (στοργή): a deep familial love, as in the love of a mother for her child
Philia (φιλία): brotherly love, the love of siblings for one another and the love of friends for one another
Eros (ἔρως): romantic love
Agape (ἀγάπη): selfless and unconditional love
Now, for this devotional series on love, I do not intend to dive into each of these types of love, but rather we will explore the way in which we see God love us. We want to see the many ways in which God pours out His love on us so that we can recognize it, give thanks for it, and treasure it.
Today our focus is on the love of God the Father. The fatherly love of God for us is spoken of by Jesus in Luke 11:9-13.
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to ask of Him! He won’t give us anything that is harmful to us, but as a loving Father he gives us that which He knows will be best for us.
And Jesus teaches us that we can and should call upon our Father in prayer as He said in giving the Lord’s Prayer. Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (Matthew 6:9)
We have a loving Father who gives us gifts each and every day and He invites us to come to Him and ask of Him. This truth caused Martin Luther to marvel and to write, concerning this invitation, “With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.”
Have you boldly prayed to the Lord recently? Have you approached God as a loving Father? The one who gives you clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, family, possessions, and everything you need to support your body and life will continue to give you good gifts and blessings.
And why does He give you these gifts? Again, Luther explains it marvelously. “All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me.”
Heavenly Father, you have loved me with a generous love. You give me gifts each and every day, not because I deserve it, but simply because of your love for me. Let this love encourage me to love you and to come to you with every need and desire, trusting that You will give me only that which is best for me. In Jesus name. Amen.
- What ways has your earthly father shown love to you?
- If you haven’t received love from an earthly father (as is the case for some people), have you seen other fathers love their children well?
- Even the best of earthly fathers fail from time to time, but our Heavenly Father gives good and perfect gifts. Consider all of the material blessings with which your Heavenly Father has blessed you and spend time giving thanks to Him for them.