Real Love

Justin Smith


Ezekiel 18:30-32

“Therefore, I will judge each of you, O people of Israel, according to your actions, says the Sovereign Lord. Repent, and turn from your sins. Don’t let them destroy you! Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live!


There’s little that aggravated me more than my mom saying, “…this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you…” before unleashing a flurry of spanks. I just didn’t get it. The pain my rear end felt as the recipient of a paddle lashing was much greater than the pain her hand would feel on the other end of that paddle, so this discrepancy never sat well in my soul…that is, until I became a father. A father’s heart finds no joy in the disciplining process. Inflicting pain upon my children is not a fun experience, and witnessing their tears literally breaks my heart. The joy comes later, though, when my child walks in obedience and trust, unlocking a life of safe adventure and blessing. This feeling in my heart is but a mere glimpse of my Heavenly Father’s heart for me. In Ezekiel 18, God pours out His Father’s heart for His children, pleading with them to choose obedience. I imagine Him appealing in love and compassion, “Don’t let your sin destroy you. Repent, turn, do what’s right. I don’t want to punish you, I don’t want you to die, so turn back and live.” In this old covenant God, who is just and holy, couldn’t tolerate evil, thus He was required, by His own nature, to judge His people’s sin. His justice mixed with His deep love and care for His children put Him in a very difficult position, and so we find Him crying out and encouraging them to do what’s right.


Today, I’m grateful for real love. A real love, from a Father, that wants the very best for me. A real love that doesn’t desire to oppress but to release; a real love that has my best interest in mind. I’m also learning gratitude for a real love that won’t tolerate sin and rebellion in my heart. A real love that disciplines me, not to harm me, but help me; help me to run from the sin that will destroy my life and run to His grace. I’m thankful for a real love that established the new covenant, not based only in justice, but covered in grace in Jesus’ blood. Today I live because of His real love, and I choose to live in His real love.


Heavenly Father, I thank you for Your Real Love. May Your love dictate my life. May I walk in purity and obedience because of it, may I run from evil and sin knowing it, and may I boldly share your love experiencing it.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Devotions for September 02

Ezekiel 17,18,19
Revelation 7

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