We looked at the old hymn Victory in Jesus and asserted there are two themes in the song: victory and love. I shared my thoughts on victory so now, here’s the love component. The song says, “He loved me ‘ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him”. There are three ways to look at love: Christ’s love for us; our love for Christ; and our love for each other. Both Paul and John talk about love so we can draw from their writings.
- Christ’s love for us. Paul writes in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And in Ephesians 3: 16-19, “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide, and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Today’s devotion in Jesus Calling says, “There is no force in the universe as powerful as My love…. there is no limit to My love; it fills all of space, time, and eternity.” Our finite minds have a difficult time understanding and comprehending God’s love for us. It’s really just something we have to accept. Paul’s message in Ephesians above says it surpasses understanding, but if we accept it and know it, we will be filled with God’s Spirit.
- Our love for God. When pressed for an answer to the question of the greatest commandment, Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matt 22: 37-38. What else do we have besides our heart, soul and mind? That is our top priority and we are to do it with every fiber of our being.
- Our love for each other. Jesus’ answer to the greatest commandment was followed closely by these words in verses 39-40, “And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” Paul’s “love chapter” 1 Cor 13 tells us what love is and what it is not; he also says, “love never fails” and he concludes the chapter with the famous line, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Returning to 1 John 4, verses 7-21 talk about the very definition of love is God. In these 14 verses (in my NIV Bible) the word God is used 36 times, and love is used 27 times. “Let us love one another, for love comes from God” (vs 7) and “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (vs 16).
The song “Victory in Jesus” was written by Eugene Bartlett and according to the web site “Behind the Hymn: Victory in Jesus” he wrote it after having a stroke that left him partially paralyzed in 1939. After the stroke he was essentially bed ridden but he continued to study his Bible during the difficult times. He was obviously blessed with insight and foresight of the victory he knew was ahead of him. He died in Jan 1941, but left us a song of love and triumph over life’s circumstances.