Grasp and be gripped by Jesus

By Dave Henning / February 24, 2024

“How do we actually know [God’s] love?  You can’t just tell yourself ‘God loves me’ and expect your heart to change.  Nor can you just say, ‘From now on I will love God.’  Love cannot be generated simply by an act of the will. . . .  We must grasp and be gripped by the true story of God’s actual, sacrificial, saving love for us in Jesus.”- Timothy Keller

“We enjoy things most when we experience them as sacrament — as carriers of the presence of another.”- Miroslav Volf

Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 4 of Making Sense of God as he exhorts you to infuse your heart with a sense of God’s love.  In addition, incline your heart to love Him in return.  This transforms you.

Furthermore, Pastor Keller stresses, our sacramental experience of the world grows as we know through faith in Christ’s work for us that we are reconciled to God.  Therefore, Miroslav Volf states, “Attachment to God amplifies and deepens enjoyment of the world.”  It does not diminish it.

Hence, Timothy counsels, never stifle passionate love for anything.  Instead, redirect your greatest love toward God — love Him with your whole heart.  Augustine believed that tranquility only comes through love of the immutable.  That only an infinite love satisfies our hunger for infinite joy.

In conclusion, Pastor Keller talks about two ways the Gospel message brings about the love relationship with God.

1.  The knowledge of our sin softens our hearts.  God created us and keeps us alive every minute.  As a result, we owe it to God to love Him supremely.  So, Timothy notes, we wrong God when we fail to do this.  Consequently, that begins to draw our hearts outward to God in humility and grief.

 2.  The knowledge of His grace ignites our hearts.  When you know that Jesus suffered and died for your sake, it begins to change your heart.  Thus, out of joy we love Jesus just for His sake.  For the beauty of who He is and what He has done.

Today’s question: What does it mean to you to grasp and be gripped by Jesus?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Freely choose life’s limitations?”

About the author

Dave Henning

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