Announcing a new book by Herb Montgomery from Autumn House Publishers, release date: December 15, 2009. Thought we’d share the introduction to the book with you this week:We are commissioned by the apostle Paul himself in his letter to the believers in Ephesus,
“Therefore be imitators of God… and walk in love…” (Ephesians 5:1,2 NASB) The Today’s English Version (TEV) translates Paul’s words, “You must try to be like him. Your life must be controlled by love.” The Revised English Bible (REB) exhorts us to, “Live in love.” Eugene Peterson (The Message) paraphrases Paul’s words, “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.”
This is what life is truly all about.
Today, loving relationships seem to be the weakest perceived quality of those who claim to be “His” people. We have become more concerned with being correct than godly, right rather than righteous. Intellectually and behaviorally correct, while love, both in our understanding of God and as the principle by which we relate to those around us, has been largely left by the wayside.
I believe this is largely because we have failed, not in our treatment of others, but in our own perception, our own heart level understanding, of what truly it means that God Is love. The root of both our misplaced spiritual zeal, or our religious malaise is that deep within our hearts, silently and subtly we have embraced, even unknowingly, a wrong picture of God.
God is shining in our hearts. (2 Cor 4:6) In hopes that we will understand with our hearts. (Isaiah 6:10) John states that, “Everyone who loves…knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7,8 NASB) This is how Jesus stated we would be able to tell who is really God’s and who has yet to truly see Him. (John 13:35) How we define God’s love, and how that love is reflected by us to those around us, will be the defining identity that sets His people apart from all others in the end. (1 Peter 4:7,8) Yet, how can we imitate that which we do not know or understand? What does it mean to truly believe that God is love? What is love? What does it look like? Once we find it, do we have the courage to truly believe that THAT is what the God of this universe is?
It is to this aim, 1) that God’s character may be truly encountered by you, 2) that the revelation of Himself would leave, not only you, but He Himself as well, with a sense of being over-joyed and a feeling of being over-loved, and 3) that the above questions may truly and sincerely be answered, that the following pages are dedicated. His desire is not as much to be in your heart, as that you would see, and believe, how deeply you are in His. I invite you then, dear reader, with this in mind, into a new world: A world of Extravagant Love, Amazing Grace, and an Intimate Friendship with the most incredible being in existence. It is not enough to know He is love, He would have us understand what that really means. I wish you His best in what is about to follow. May the truths within this small volume you are holding usher you from darkness, once and for all, into His marvelous light.