1 John 3:1: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”That is the first verse that Cindy Bultema will ask us to memorize as we begin Red Hot Faith. And I can hear the groans from this place behind my keyboard. I get it; memorizing isn't one of those things we love to do and most of us feel ill-equipped to do it. But it was an exercise that was good enough for Jesus, so shouldn't we at least give it a shot?
I printed out the 1 John verse on a little 3x5 card and put it on my bathroom counter. I began to read it over and over as I brushed my teeth and put on my makeup. I was intent on memorizing it by saturating my brain with it when it struck me that it wasn't just my brain but my heart and soul that needed to be saturated with this beautiful verse. It wouldn't benefit my relationship with God in the least if I could just recite that verse like a robot. No, I needed to let God's word do what it is intended to do.Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
So I asked God to speak to me through this verse. I asked him to help me to truly see what He wanted me to learn about Him through this tiny section of scripture. God immediately reminded me of an experience I recently had at Target. This is one of the many things I adore about our Lord; he uses the everyday to show us glimpses of Himself.I was waiting to check out at Target a few months ago and I had picked a time of day when everyone else in the Germantown area needed milk, a combination lock and motor oil. Standing in the line next to me was a husband, wife, and their baby who was in a car seat that had been placed in the shopping cart. The shade protector was pulled forward on the car seat and the father had his head inside the fabric and was talking to his child. We were in line a long time and this daddy never stopped gushing over his child. It was the lengthiest running dialogue of baby talk that I have ever witnessed. The longer the one-sided conversation went on, the more I wanted to see the baby. I kept waiting for the dad to step back so I could see the little one that had generated such love in his father.
The line moved a bit and then it happened. The dad pulled his head out of the cover of the car seat and I was finally able to see inside. Do you know what I saw? A baby. Not the most beautiful baby, not a baby with the loveliest hair or eyes, not a baby with the biggest smile. To me, he was just an average baby.But not to his father. The father of this blessed little baby was enraptured. This was his child and the love he felt was what compelled him to talk baby-talk for an extended period of time in a check-out line at Target. It wasn't just love for a child I witnessed; it was love being lavishly given.
I'm so grateful that God used this moment at Target to help me understand our first memory verse. Somewhere, someone needs to hear this today. God loves you. He loves you generously, extravagantly, LAVISHLY. He loves you because he is your perfect and adoring Father. He delights over you on your good days and your bad days. You are not, for even one moment, average to him. You are a child of the most high God. And he is crazy about you.1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
Now, isn't that verse worth memorizing?