The Equation that Changes Everything in the World

As we enjoy the glow of Valentine’s Day, let’s reflect on love and math. There is an equation about love that John uses to describe the nature of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. It is simple but surprising. The equation is this:

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (I John 4:16, NIV) John claims that God is love. This makes sense from a Biblical view, and it aligns with what Jesus taught—that love is a distinctive which identifies those who follow God. You know how an equation works, right? X = Y means that everything on one side of the equation equals the other side EXACTLY. They are interchangeable because they are equal.

equation

It All Adds Up, Somehow

And “God is Love” is not the only equation in the New Testament. Consider this: we are designed to be complete only in relationships, and relationships are only complete when they run on love. The equation is, two people become one flesh. Husband equals wife. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one”. The equation is, Jesus equals the Father.

When John says, “God is love”, he is saying that love is God’s makeup—it is the essence of His personality, his character, and his being. If you think about it, we know about and acknowledge several things about God’s character. God is holy. He is a Righteous Judge. He is the source of all forgiveness and grace. But John’s equation sets the baseline for who God is. What He does is motivated by love and is an expression of love. God cannot commit a purely selfish act.

Love, Backwards and Forwards

When you flip that statement around (which you can always do when you juxtapose two equal objects with a verb of being, and it will still be true), it says, “Love is God.” John is saying that not only is God characterized by love, but that EVERYTHING loving is from God. Whatever love you encounter in this world comes from God—there is nothing loving apart from him or possible without him. We experience love in many forms, and probably every one of those forms is valid, as is anything that we perceive as love.

We experience a mother’s love, there is love in friendships, and there is the love we have for puppies and little children. There is deep, abiding love, romantic, mushy love, and there is even sexual love between a husband and wife (yes, God created sex, and in way more than fifty shades!). There are all manner of other kinds of love we feel or encounter or touch in this life.

But here’s the deal: None of them would exist without God. Some of them may seem to us to be disconnected from God, but if you look closely I think you’ll start to see in them a glimmer of God’s presence, or a fleeting glimpse of his character. And the more you look, the more you’ll see that they couldn’t exist without Him, that there is no real love apart from God, because God is love, and love is God. Good thing to think about during the month that contains Valentine’s Day.

A Different Equation: One Plus One Equals One

To my lovely wife: you’re the love of my life!
To my family and friends, may our love never end!
It is more than a fad or a transient trend.
Just remember this stuff, when the going gets tough:
Love is God; God is love, it all comes from above;
It’s the nature of God, and when push comes to shove,
It is God’s DNA, and it’s what He’s made of!
So, everything loving you happen to see’s
A reminder that God lives in you, and in me:
Love’s what He gives us, and calls us to be!
Just in case I haven’t said it enough,
What you say: Love is God. What it means: God is love.

Go love somebody, and go feel loved today. In other words, be godly. Then thank God that you just saw Him where you weren’t looking before!

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread
For the Kindle Edition, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Bo-Jackson-ebook/dp/B01K5Z0NLA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-2&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread

The Devil is Fiction, Right? Think Again!

Men have talked about the devil for centuries, and I’m sure many people assume he is mythological or a fictional character. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44, NIV) The devil, you say? Isn’t he just an imaginary being with horns, a pitchfork and a tail? Certainly he doesn’t really wield influence in our world…

devil

Fact or Fiction?

In the same discourse where he said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free”, Jesus identified the devil as a murderer and a liar. Jesus says the devil has always been that way, from the very beginning. Apparently Jesus thought the devil was as real as a heart attack. He also pointed out that anyone who does not value integrity or truth is actually Satan’s minion (and not the cute, “Despicable me” kind…). There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who recognize and participate in the Kingdom of God, and those who (knowingly or unknowingly) are part of Satan’s kingdom.

A couple of observations: just like anything loving in this world must come from God (for God is love, 1 John 4:8, 16), anything deceitful must come from the devil, because he is the father of lies. Every falsehood and corruption of the truth comes from the father of falsehood. Jesus points out that our very desires can be influenced by the great deceiver, who enjoys bringing more death into the world.

More Outlets than Ever

If there is a spiritual realm where God is opposed by the devil, and if that spiritual realm impacts our world, then count on this: the Father of lies has many, many outlets. When we are bombarded with half-truths or minor variations of reality, it came from him. When revisions of history alter the facts just a little bit, and when the boundaries around actual events get moved, Satan has his hand in it. They don’t have to be big lies, they can be minor deviations. If you start with two parallel train tracks going for miles in a straight line, and deviate one just .005%, eventually that variation will cause a train wreck.

Consider the Source

So… when media blurs the lines or tells only a part of the story, it’s basically a lie. Who’s that lie’s daddy? And when you encounter journalistic “reporting” that didn’t check its source, there is only one place it could have come from. When a politician lies (or reverses their position as if they never held the first one), we know who is speaking.

If friends post inaccurate information on social media that tells only one side of a story, they are also complicit. If there is a devil, all of those lies are helping expand his kingdom. You know those times when we tell a little white lie? Guess where that comes from? When Truth is abused or damaged, guess who is happy about it?

Just as God motivates us to be loving and selfless, the Devil motivates us to be selfish and deceitful. When we love, we connect to something godly, and to God himself. When we lie, or listen to lies, well… You can see who THAT connects to! Be careful out there. Peter said, “Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8, NKJV). Lyin’ can lead you to the Lion. Don’t get et.

The Devil You Say

Watch the things you listen to, be careful what you read;
The world is full of bad advice that it wants you to heed.
I don’t know your opinion, what you think or how you feel,
But Jesus said the devil is alive, and mean, and REAL.
Peter said that Satan wants to have you for a meal!
He’s like a roaring lion on the hunt this very hour,
So please make sure that you are not the next thing he’ll devour.
Resist his lies and use God’s love to circumvent his power…

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread