Transformed for Life: How to Know God Better and Love Him MoreTransformed for Life: How to Know God Better and Love Him More
Derek Prince
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Are you walking tall in God's promises, or still creeping along? Experience transformation as you examine six aspects of Christianity---God's love, atonement, suffering, fatherhood, the Holy Spirit, and blessings and curses. Previously published as six booklets: Extravagant Love, The Divine Exchange, Who Is the Holy Spirit?, Life's Bitter Pool, Fatherhood, and From Curse to Blessing. 224 pages, softcover from Baker.
     

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The Pearl of Great Value

Everything about God is greater and grander than we can comprehend, but this is particularly true of His love. The very nature of God is love. The word I have chosen to describe this love is extravagant, an unusual and non-religious word, to get away from stereotypes.

Our human love is often petty, stingy and self-centered. God's love is not like that at all. It is vast, boundless and extravagant. Remember the prayer Paul prayed for all of us in Ephesians 3:

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Verses 14-17, NIV

To comprehend what God has for us, we must first be strengthened by His Spirit. Something must be created in us as a receptacle for what He wants to put into us. Paul goes on to explain what that is:

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. –verses 17-19, NIV

God wants to put the fullness of His love into the vessel that He creates in us by His Holy Spirit. He wants us to know all the dimensions of His love—how wide, long, high, and deep it is. He wants us to know a love that passes knowledge. God's love cannot be known by the intellect, but it can be apprehended through the revelation of the Scripture and of the Holy Spirit.

The parable of the Treasure in the Field, which we looked at in the last chapter, was used as a standard by which to measure God's love. It reveals the measure of Christ's love for His people collectively. Remember, buying the treasure cost Him all He had.

The parable that immediately follows, the Pearl of Great Value, reveals the measure of Christ's love for each human soul individually. It is important for us to appreciate that God loves us not just as part of a group but as individuals.

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46, NIV

In line with the previous parable, the merchant is Jesus. He was not just a tourist or window-shopper but someone who really knew the value of that for which He was looking. When He found this one pearl, He realized it would be a bargain to sell all He had just to buy it.

How many of us would see a stone so precious that we would part with everything we had just to own that one jewel? That is the love of Jesus. It is extravagant!

The cost of the pearl is the same as the cost of the field: all He had. (In the next chapter we will analyze what it meant for Jesus to give all He had.)

What does a pearl suggest? One thing it suggests in Scripture is suffering. A pearl is caused by irritation within the oyster. It is the product of something going wrong inside the shell. Isn't it interesting that all the gateways to the New Jersualem are made of pearls? That tells us there is now way into New Jerusalem except the way of suffering.

Then, in the process of making that pearl marketable, many things must be done. The pearl has to be raised from the depths of the sea, removed from the oyster and subjected to various processes. It is rather like the treasure in the field. It takes a lot of work to make it ready. Just as Jesus bought the field but leaves it to His servants to prepare the treasure for Him, likewise, He leaves it to His servants to ready the pearl for His enjoyment. But finally there comes forth that smooth, beautiful, gleaming pearl.

Picture Jesus holding just one pearl in His hand, looking down at it with inexpressible love. This is not a collective picture, not meant for a group, but something personal and individual. It is. Imagine Jesus with just one pearl gleaming in the palm of His hand, saying to that pearl, "It was for you I paid that price. I gave all I had."

Go one step further. Say to yourself, "I was that pearl. I am that pearl. If there had been nobody else to be redeemed, Jesus would have died just for me." It is important that you see this. Many of us struggle with a sense of unworthiness, inadequacy and rejection. We wonder whether we are really wanted. It is vital to see that each of us is a pearl for which Jesus gave all He had.

Here are four simple but very important facts about God's love:

God's love is individual.
God's love is everlasting.
God's love is from before time.
God's love is irresistible.

Let's look at some Scriptures that illustrate these four points.

God's love is individual and everlasting.

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee [individually and personally] with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3, KJV

God's love is of old, both individual and everlasting. It is out of His love that He draws us to Himself.

God's love precedes time.

For he [God] chose us in him [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ . . . Ephesians 1:4-5, NIV

There are two possible ways of punctuating this verse: "to be holy and blameless in his sight in love . . ." or "to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us . . ." Whichever you use, the fact remains that God's love precedes time. Before the creation of the world He loved us, chose us and predestined us. He arranged the course of His life so that we would encounter Him and encounter His love.

God's love is irresistible.

A simple statement in the Song of Solomon says, "Love is as strong as death" (8:6). Death is irresistible. When death comes, nobody can turn it away or say, I'm not ready. I won't accept you." No man has the power to resist death. And Solomon says, "Love is as strong as death."

The New Testament takes us one step further. When Jesus died and rose from the dead, He proved that love is stronger than death. The most irresistible, negative force in the universe was conquered by the most irresistible, positive force in the universe: the love of God. An old English song sung many years ago called "Love Will Find a Way" illustrates this:

Over the mountians
Under the fountains
Love will find a way.

Love always gets to its objectives. It accepts no barriers. And the love of God will go through anything, over anything, under anything to get where it wants.

Think about that! God's love is individual, everlasting, from before time, and irresistible. Then picture yourself again as the pearl in the hand of Jesus. Say to yourself, "His love for me is individual and everlasting. It precedes time. It is irresistible." Then remember what it cost Him—all He had. Stop to say, "Thank You."


Excerpted from:
Transformed for Life by Derek Prince, copyright 2002. Used by permission. All rights reserved.