Do you want the fire of God's love to burn in your hears? John, the Evangelist, tells us that God is love. His love is unconditional, unmerited, and without limit. It lasts forever. It is the beginning and the end, it is the reason God created us and why he wants us to be united with him. And it is the essence of what is means to be a Christian, one who knows God's love and forgiveness and who loves God in return with all one's heart, soul, mind, body and strength. God's love heals and transforms our lives and frees us from fear, selfishness and greed. It draws us to the very heart of God and it compels us to give to him the best we have and all we possess, our gifts, our time, our resources, our full allegiance and our very lives. Paul, the Apostle, tells us that God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given us (Romans 5:5).
What can quench such love? Certainly indifference, loss of hope, disbelief, and rejection of God and his word. Why did Jesus question Peter's love and trustworthiness three times in front of the other apostles? It must have caused Peter pain and sorrow since he had publicly denied Jesus three times Now Peter, full of regret and humility, clearly stated that he loved his master and was willing to serve him whatever it might cost. When Jesus asks him "do you love me more than these?" Jesus may have pointed to the boats, nets and catch of fish. He may have challenged Peter to leave his work as a fisherman to shepherd God's people. Jesus also may have pointed to the other disciples and to Peter's previous boast: "Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away." Peter now makes no boast or comparison but humbly responds: "You know I love you." The Lord Jesus calls each one of us, even in our weakness, sin and failings to love him above all else. Saint Augustine, in his Confessions, wrote: "Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new, Late have I loved you! ... You shone your Self upon me to drive away my blindness. You breathed your fragrance upon me and in shock I drew my breath...now I pant for you! I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst for you. You touched me! -- and I burn to live within your peace." Nothing but our sinful pride and willfulness can keep us from the love of God. It is a free gift, undeserved and beyond payment. We can never outmatch God in giving love. He loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding kindness and mercy towards us. Do you allow God's love to change and transform your heart?