One of the repercussions of the sin of man’s disobedience to God’s commandment not to eat out of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden was that man became alienated from God who is Love, and the source of true love. This implies that true love’s manifestations and effects such as gratitude, longsuffering, kindness, humbleness, meekness, selflessness and others written in 1 Corinthians 13:13 which helps keep the heart perfect, aglow, pure and sound became depraved and decreased greatly. It also implies that man suffered a broken love relationship between God and himself and this led to a broken relationship between him and his wife and this degenerated further into broken relationship with their children and the whole humanity and creation as a whole.
The more the fallen man got in close contact with the devil, fellow fallen humans and life in the fallen world, the more unloving and inhuman he becomes as he develops the evil viles such as wickedness, impatience, ingratitude, abuse, inhumanity, untruthfulness, unfaithfulness, disloyalty, selfishness, unforgiving, jealousy, hate, envy, cruelty, animosity, reviling, pride and others as written in 2 Tim 3:2-5; all which not only destroys relationships but also pollutes and destroys the heart. Man has become hater of God, fellowmen and himself and life generally.
However, we thank God for His mercies and thoughtfulness in His gracious salvation package through His Son Jesus Christ for the redemption of mankind to include His love being spread abroad the heart of the regenerated man by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Having God’s type of love is the greatest gift of God to the regenerated man. With this, the renewed man could have a loving faith relationship with God, his fellow men and himself as expected and also cure the abnormalities and evil of his heart by the help of the Holy Spirit.
The importance of the divine love spread abroad the heart of the regenerated can never be overemphasized. Love is the greatest power needed to sustain all relationships. Love is that propelling force that makes us get into a personal relationship with God to worship Him. Love remains the most powerful and unbreakable cord that binds human hearts together. It breaks all barriers and boundaries of color, race, language, distance and religion and many more. Love is the fulfillment of all laws; love covers a multitude of sins (1 Pt. 4:8). Faith worketh by love (Galatians 5:6).
Love also plays a very important role in keeping the heart safe from all that pollutes and defiles it. Love and its characteristics as written in 1Cor. 13:4-5 are what make a man’s heart perfect and sound. Love is the great motive power of life. Love is the key that unlocks the human heart. It is the most potent power of change. It is the greatest and the most powerful of all passions and emotions therefore it can subdue any of them. Love softens, humbles, and heals the heart. There is no challenge love cannot undertake and overcome. It breaks every resistance and makes the heart willing. It strengthens and encourages the heart. Love insulates from pain, discouragement and difficulties associated with any given task.
Among the reasons why the charges on being grateful to God are always given is to boost the love spread abroad in our hearts so that we will be able to easily obey the two greatest commandments of loving God and our neighbors (Matt. 22:37-39). Thankfulness and thanksgiving is a sure way of developing true heart love devotion for God and man.
When we make gratitude a lifestyle, thanking God for all things, in everything and whatsoever we do in words or deeds as charged in Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Colossians 3;15-17, the more the Holy Spirit helps our heart to know Him better. The more we know Him, the more our love for Him grows deeper and stronger; our appreciation of Him also grows deeper and stronger. This is because genuine gratitude seeks for the benefactor, keeps ones heart on the benefactor, recognizes, acknowledges and appreciates the benefactor and these in turn develop into personal attachment, trust and love for the benefactor. Thankfulness keeps the heart focused on the giver, brings us closer to God even giving us a glimpse into His nature and character, heart and mind of God himself. Gratitude knits the heart of the giver and the receiver together in love resulting in devotion, loyalty, dedication and commitment. As we appreciate Him more and more for who He is – faithful, merciful, gracious, compassionate, loving, kind, forgiving, eternal, infinite, powerful, all knowing, all His goodness and blessing in our lives and His acts and interventions in lives and much more our love for Him deepens and our relationship with Him is strengthened. .
As we also obey the charge to give thanks to God for all men – the downtrodden, the rich, the strangers, family, neighbours, co-workers, in-laws, friends and foes in fact everyone, for kings, and for all that are in authority as charged in 2 Timothy 3:1, our love and value of them grows and deeper relationships are fostered. One becomes more patient, humble, tolerant, kind, helpful, affectionate, compassionate, considerate and empathetic towards fellowmen. This is because love unravels and reveals hidden mysteries of God in others, while at the same time, it covers every wrong in others. You will agree with me that a person one does not appreciate is never loved. Lack of appreciation is the bane of contention between husband and wife, siblings, parents and children, leaders and followers. We can love others if we appreciate God for each other as a fellow creature created in God’s image and likeness and greatly loved and valued by God. We should also appreciate them for who they are and what God is using them to do. By loving others, our hearts open to them, accept them and become bonded to them. The heart becomes freer, happier, lighter and purified (1 Peters 1:22).
Conclusively, as we obey the charges on gratitude to God for all things – all you have both mundane and special blessings, in everything – all situations we find ourselves and in whatsoever we do in words or deeds as charged in Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Colossians 3;15-17, we develop greater self-love. Gratitude to God, our Creator who made us fearfully and wonderfully in His own image and likeness with great potentials, capabilities, gifts and talents and has given us all things freely all things pertaining to life to enjoy helps one see His goodness and loving kindness to us. This helps us to have good self-esteem, makes one appreciate oneself and strive to develop oneself. And as you appreciate yourself you are able to love and appreciate your creator and fellow humans. Most people who become haters of God, humanity and themselves are those angry or dissatisfied with one or more of their physical features and happenings in their lives. Look at yourself in the mirror, can you see yourself through the eyes of the Spirit of God in your heart the way King David saw himself in Psalm 139? A closer look at oneself – special physical features, beauty, uniqueness and much more with the eyes of appreciation will go a long way to promote self-love.
So, make it a duty to appreciate God being your God and father, for all men and yourself and see how loving and lovely you become.
GOD LOVESYOU AND SO DO I.