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Is God a cosmic narcissist?

December 31, 2021

From the desk of Francisco A Peralta

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12: 28-31

There is much to consider in these few lines. Today we will focus on the call to love God completely. The next devotional message will look at loving our neighbor, one of the ways we can love God.

Why does God call us to love him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength? The call to love him is to love him with all we have. Nothing is to be held back. Nothing is to be left on the table, so to speak. He wants all our love! He will not settle for our minimal 00.1% effort nor our seemingly full 99.9% effort. He wants all of it! This demand might make one think that God is some sort of cosmic narcissist, wanting all our affections?

To understand his desire, we must look at the why. And the why is easy. He wants us to love him as much as he loves us! We are his creation and by Christ’s sacrifice we become his adopted children. Adopted kids are chosen kids! He chose us to belong to him. Just think, his love for us is so grand, deep, wide, and profound that he sent Jesus to die for us and bring us back to the right relationship to himself.

God’s love is perfect, and original. Original in the sense that God not only loves, but he is the very definition of love. In the epistle of First John, the word love is used fifty-one times by his disciple. In First John 4:8, John explains, “Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love. Think of it this way: if you take a photo of someone and run a copy of the original, it will be a good copy. And, if you take that copy and make a copy it might still be a good copy. But if you take a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy to the thousandth copy, the one thousandth copy will not look like the original. Why? Because it is a copy of an imperfect copy. God’s love for us is the original photo. It is perfect, eternal, complete love, coming from the Originator of love, the very author of love. It is a love without shadow, without flaw, with no imperfections, just like the original photo. He doesn't love us more if we behave, nor love us less if we misbehave and fall short. That’s perfect love from a Perfect God who doesn’t just love but is LOVE!

The Old Testament word that best reflects God’s love for human beings is “hesed.” It describes a love focused uniquely on those whom God has redeemed, such love moves the Lord to forgive (Psalm 86:5), to deliver (Psalm 17:7), and to protect his own (Psalm 32:10). In the New Testament, the Greek word “agape” is a powerful word describing this self-giving love. Agape reflects Christ’s love for his elect. A love that is sacrificial, redeeming, unmerited, an expression of the character of the lover rather than dependent on qualities of the beloved. [1]

Brothers and sisters, let that sink in. His love for us is not dependent on our successes, nor our failures. It is not dependent on our good acts, nor our worst sins. His love is independent of our behavior. He sets his love on us because he loves us. God is the Perfect lover of our souls, and we are his imperfect love objects! I hope this concept of his love challenges you because it has challenged me over the years. These days I pray to get a bit closer to grasping this perfect love from God.

For just a minute consider what Jesus did at the cross. At the cross, he died, voluntarily for all sin, for all mankind, for all time (past-present-future), and all at once. This was his all-out sacrifice for us. This is why he can say love “the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. He can say this because he loved us with all his heart, all his soul, all his mind and all his strength. Nothing was left at the table. No, he is not a cosmic narcissist but rather a cosmic, perfect, forever lover of our souls.

And lest we get confused because we focus so much on God’s love, one last comment. When we focus on God’s love, it does not diminish his other characteristics such as his righteousness, his holiness nor his purity. God is love, 100% all the time. God is righteous 100% all the time. God is holy 100% all the time. God is pure 100% all the time. His love is matched by his righteousness, holiness, and purity. Without his love, and just focused on his righteousness, holiness, and purity, we would not stand a chance in hell in getting to heaven.

So, he can rightly say love me with all you have because he has loved us with all he has. Ponder today this great love, set aside your misconceptions of who God is and search the scriptures for confirmation of this message from our Cosmic Lover. I pray this message blesses you, challenges you and encourages you as we pass from 2021 to 2022. And, if you have any questions about this or anything else, please reach out to me.

May the Lord God watch over you and help you receive his great love.

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