Leon Fontaine - Designed To Love
You know the Christmas story is so well-known and it's a story about family. It's a story about relationships. God has made every one of us to crave love, to need love, to want love. But very few of us have been taught by our society as to what love is. Love is a feeling. Love makes your leg pop when you kiss. Whatever crazy love story you see. They're fun. They're cute. But love according to the Word of God is God. God is love. And inside every one of us if we don't receive God's love, we live our lives searching and looking for it. We think maybe a marriage will fulfill that hole in our heart. Maybe having kids, their love will do it.
Sometimes you can go through countless marriages wondering, "Well, who? Who will be my soulmate"? But the Bible says that the reason Jesus came to this planet was to restore mankind, to our relationship with God. Which makes us healthy and then we have the ability to love. You see, love got all messed up in the Garden of Eden when fear got introduced to love. Wherever there's fear, love becomes weird. We begin to say things, do things. We begin to worry, envy, jealous, anger. All these things as fear gets involved and, since the Garden of Eden mankind's nature is one of sin or many Bible scholars will say, "One of fear, we're always worrying about losing the people we love, people abandoning us, betraying us, hurting us". Only when we give our lives to Jesus Christ can He truly meet this need inside of us to be valuable, to be significant, to be important, to be special, to be loved.
I find that a lot of people have never experienced or even aware of that. You see, when God made mankind, He never intended that they would be separated from His presence. Can you imagine the degree of love and value that Adam and Eve felt in the Garden of Eden with God? But when they disobeyed Him and the whole world fell into disarray. The thing that many of us forget is that man had a nature of love. He had a nature of love but when man fell his nature became one of fear. All of us love someone. We're all loved by someone. But whenever fear gets in the love, it makes it funny. It limits it. It makes it hard. And we live in a world filled with fear. Adam and Eve at first in the garden we're petrified that God was gonna get them, gonna get them. They hid themselves from Him.
And today if you study the human race, everyone is hiding, from even wanting to believe there is a God where agnostic and atheist and people who believe in. And everybody gets to believe whatever they want. Everybody gets to do whatever they want. Everything's got consequences or blessings. But you're a freewill being and you get to do and live your life the way you desire. But within every one of us is this need to be loved, to be significant, to feel valued. This love, you'll never be satisfied if your love relationships are without Christ, because when you accept this gift, this Jesus, you become supernaturally empowered to love the people in your life to a greater degree and even to receive love to a great degree. It's interesting that when you study the kind of love that God has for us, it is a love that is called unconditional. Which means He loves us, even for a mess.
Some guys will often tell me if we're talking in chat and I say, "Well, come up to church sometimes". Oh, man. If I target the church doors, I'd be struck by lightning. They really think that only perfect people go to church. But there are no perfect people. There are no perfect families. I was chatting with a gentleman after the second service and I welcome to him. He says it's his first time to church in, I don't know 20, 30 years. And I said, "Well, welcome to our church". And he goes, "Oh, this isn't church. I know what church is. This is not a church. This is like, like this is warm. This is loving. This is forgiving". And I'm glad he noticed the difference. 'Cause I actually hate religion. The manmade rules that dictated caused us to judge one another. That caused us to look at one another with, you know, and criticize and find fault.
The love that God has is a love that accepts you the way you are. That's hard for some people to realize. Well, don't I have to like clean up my life? No, you come as you are, and He accepts you and He loves you. But here's a thing. He loves you too much to leave you the way you are. 'Cause all of us want to improve. We want to change. In this coming year, I wanna be a better dad, a better husband. I wanna be a better pastor, friend, grandpa. My desire is not to stay where I am. My desires to increase and God gives us this ability. So many relationships plateau and they stopped at a certain place. That they just kind of put up with each other and trying to love with each other. But I'm praying for you that this Christmas, that God's gift to you and I which is Jesus, His Son, that we would really learn to love with His love. And then we have an ability to love others and we finally have an ability to receive love.
Today, in our world many people are loved but don't know how to receive it. Don't believe it. We're believing that this Christmas, that so many families will see miracles in their marriages, their homes, their families. You might say, "My marriage is cool. Everything's fine". Well then, take it to a new level. All of us should desire to change. I want to be a better pastor. I wanna be a better husband. I wanna be a better father, a better dad, a better grandfather, a better friend. It should be in all of us this desire, as our world, as our lives unfold that we grow, that things change. I'm challenging you to grow in God's love. If you've given your life to Jesus Christ, then inside of you is a unique kind of love, a supernatural kind of love. That few people actually learned to release because we're so fearful and so busy looking after ourselves, worrying about ourselves.
We've never learned to show love and to give love. There are different words in the Greek for the word love. And there's words that means friendship. There's words that mean a lover, like in a married couple. There's words that talk about family love. But then there's a word that talks about a God kind of love. This is the love you were designed for to receive from God and to receive literally from one another. God's love flowing through us. You and I can love that way. Romans 5:5 says, "The love of God is shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Spirit". Therefore, you can grow family. You can grow friendships. You can grow -, and it never has to end this incredible love. There are no perfect families. There are no perfect people.
Now, listen to this if you're worried about your family and feel like maybe you haven't lived up and your family hasn't quite arrived. And God Himself has a broken family. He had Adam and Eve as His children. And they turned and disobeyed Him and created the world that we have today by their actions. And today, like you saw on the video in the Psalms. God is in the process of restoring His family, of reaching His family scattered across the planet, languages, skin colors, different cultures. He's trying to restore them. And my challenge to you is, the only way we are going to see God touch this planet, is that you and I are able to show God's love wherever we go. And it's gotta start in our families, our marriages, our homes. This ability to love, to show love. Proverb says that love that is not shown is useless. To say, "Well, you know, I just need you to know I love you". No, no. I don't need to know it. I need to be shown it. This elderly couple are driving their farm truck to town.
The wife looks at her elderly husband and she says, "How come you never tell me you love me"? It's quite for a moment and he says, "Well, I told you 55 years ago when I married you that I love you. And if I change my mind, I'll let you know". That doesn't work. Let me just save the guys for a minute. The same couple was driving down the road with their farm truck and they see a car approaching and this young newlywed couple is in the front seat. And he's driving, and she is draped all over him, wrapped right around. You can hardly tell there's two people in the front seat. The car zooms by. And grandma's thinking for a minute and she looks at grandpa and she says, "We used to sit like that". It's quiet for another 10 seconds and grandpa says, "I ain't moved".
For the rest of our lives one of the joys of relationships is learning to show how we love one another. To the men, sometimes we get a bad rap because we're just, you know, lovey-dovey Jesus and God in church. And it's just so feminine, raise your hand and love Jesus. Do you feel that love? Many guys kind of go, "Oh, it's a little, you know, it's a little bit much for me". Well, the word love means to value. It means to value someone so much that you lay down your life for them. And ladies don't think that because men sometimes show love differently, that we don't love deeply. History has proven over and over again, that when men love, they lay down their lives for their wives. They'll fight for their countries, their homes.
We need to understand more of God's love and learn to communicate that love. Because man's love says, "I will love you if you do these things for me. And if you don't reciprocate our love won't last more than a year or two". And we forget that God's love is unconditional. And that we should show love not because we're gonna get something back but because this is who I am. Who am I? Someone that shows love. Someone that values people in our lives. Do you realize, maybe it's a good reminder for us at Christmas to remember that when people love you, what an honor. Your spouse chose you. Your kids love you. Your friends, they love you. This ability to love one another is beautiful. It's precious and it's the way God designed the human race. This Christmas let God touch your heart.
Let God use you to maybe take your relationships to another level by showing love. You know what's unique about Holy Spirit? Is that when God's presence is within you, He even gives you the right words to love the people that you love. He gives you the right ideas for actions to show the people that you love how much you love them. Sometimes we get caught up with our careers, on our houses, on our payments, and hydro and everything else. That we just think, "Everybody in my love world takes for granted how much I love them". But, you know, every one of us loves it. My kids are all grown up now and married. But I'm telling you, if you wanna melt my heart, have anyone of them or their spouses look me in the eye and just say three simple words, "I love you".
And I'm almost gonna tear up right there. I'm a mess. It's so beautiful to be loved. It's so powerful to be loved. Maybe I could switch you around today to believe in God. That rather than looking and see how much you can receive, you could begin to see how much you could give. How do you show love to people? In newer ways, in better ways. How can you maybe even restore broken relationships at Christmas time with a brother-in-law, a sister, a grandparent, a friend? That maybe it's rough and you've had to maybe distance yourself. I'm not saying remove the boundaries that you've made. But maybe it would just take you to speaking words of forgiveness. Maybe it would just take you just saying, "Hey, I'm sorry. Our relationship is too important to me, to us not moving on".
Let God's love flow through you. And when you allow God's love to flow through you, it's how Jesus taught us how to love. God's gift to you and I was Jesus. He came to this planet to restore us, to heal our spirit that was void, devoid of God's presence. And when you give your life to Jesus, and you come alive with His presence. You have a capacity to accept love and you have an ability to give love. And to not teach that in our marriages and in our families, and to not do that is to leave the people in your world shortchanged because God's design. Even though God's love is amazing, you look at Adam in the garden and He said, "It's not good for you to be alone. I need to give you someone". He didn't just give a spouse. He gave family, kids, grandkids, great grandkids. Then all of a sudden shows up mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law. And the circle of love just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Look after your family regardless of where it is right now, how broken it has become, or whatever has taken place in your family. Recognize even God has a broken family, an incomplete family. God doesn't have a perfect family. God's love accepts us the way we are. Forgives us when we have shortcomings, when we make mistakes. In fact, the love chapter in the Bible is all about how to love imperfect people. So why do we expect God to love us only when we're flawless or when we're perfect. He loves you the way you are and if you could accept that and believe that and invite this Jesus to be your Lord, your Saviour. The Bible says that the power to love others becomes yours at a greater level that is humanly possible. Romans 5:5 says, "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit".
The Bible teaches us that if we can learn to love, learn to teach love to our children, that your family can be generational. The Bible says to the thousandth generation. That if we can learn to love, forgive. If we can learn to love Him first, and have this vertical relationship, good with Him. That literally everywhere you go, you become a miracle. God can use you to feel His love, for others to meet you and know that there's something different about you. And it's not just your manners and it's not just your good behavior. There's something deeper that they can't put their finger on. It's a level of love that only God can give.
Now, we all can love and we all love to the best of our ability. But I just wanna introduce you to a level of love that everyone of us can have and it requires Jesus. The gift to every one of us. He came as a baby, grew up to 33 years of age. He died for you and I. And then He said, before He left this planet, He said, "I will build my church and the gates of hell won't stop it". I wanna encourage you to do one last thing. In 2018, may be getting back to church would be a good idea. I don't mean a religious church or but I mean one that is lifegiving. I mean one that will show you who you are in Christ. Let you know how much He loves you and that there's a plan for your life. There's something about people getting together like that and the Bible calls that family. Sally and I love our family. We've five kids. They're all married, and grandkids are on the way.
And I love family, but I also love the family of God. I love you. I love how we do life together, how we have purpose and reach out. I love how that we feel responsible to share this beautiful message of love with our neighbors, our city, with the world. I pray this Christmas for miracles for you, for everybody around you. And that you'll be profoundly affected by this love, this God kind of love. This love that will change you forever as you find out what it feels like to love others. And even if they don't reciprocate, that this is who I am. I'm a lover. I've decided to be someone that values others, decided to be one that gives to others. When you make this decision, and this becomes your identity, miracles become a common place.