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Authentic Love

He is jealous for me/ Loves like a hurricane/ I am a tree/ Bending beneath the weight of His wind
and mercy// When all of a sudden/ I am unaware of the afflictions eclipsed by glory/ And I
realize just how beautiful You are/ And how great Your affections are for me//
– “How He Loves” John Marc McMillan

In 1 Kings, God grants Solomon’s wish for wisdom; Solomon not only received wisdom, but also a discerning heart, both of which reached such deep measures that no one will ever be able to be compared.  Solomon demonstrated this newfound wisdom to his kingdom by ordering a small baby, whom two mothers were claiming as their own, to be cut in half.  Wow!  What a risky move!  Not only was this order a wise decision, but also a resolution fueled by love.  Are you thinking, “How could this dicey act be considered so wise and so loving?”

The mystery of this decision lies hidden in the end of the story.  After Solomon orders the death of the child, the Word says, “Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned for her son; and she said, ‘O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!’  But the other said, ‘Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him.’  So the king answered and said, ‘Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother'” (1 Kings 3:26-27, NKJV).

While both women insisted the child was their own, the love of the real mother revealed the truth.  The authentic mother loved her son so fervently she would rather relinquish the boy to another mother than see his life snuffed out prematurely.  This Old Testament story also gives us an example of what God did for us; He loves us so fiercely that He actually gave His only son, the ultimate sacrifice, so our lives wouldn’t end in death.

I will be the first to admit that although I know what Christ Jesus did for me, I try not to dwell on the circumstances of His crucifixion.  My sins were not only the reason He died, but He also endured insufferable torment.  His death was incredibly violent, painful, and difficult to fathom because I do not have any pain that comes close to what Jesus withstood.

What would our lives look like if we expressed even a mere fraction of the love both this Old Testament mother and our Savior displayed toward us?  Valentine’s Day is coming up.  It is a holiday celebrating love but usually celebrating love between couples.  Celebrate love not only toward a spouse, but also toward your children, family, friends, the body of Christ, and the lost.  We are all in need of an outrageous display of love, and there are those who have a deep need to experience the violent and jealous affection of our Father who loves us and values us more than we’ll ever understand.

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