MAC: In our discussion about this album we’ve talked about the three-step process of brokenness, prayer, and then receiving something from God and moving forward with that. This song is definitely towards the end of this process, hearing from God and specifically hearing Him say ‘When you love me and you give me your whole life then I’m going to return those things to you in even greater intensity.’
Question: So is the voice of this song God?
MAC: Yes, I think so. It could be taken as a relationship song between two people, but really I wrote it about being in a place of surrender and hearing God say this to us. If we respond to his love in the first place and give him love then he’ll return it even more. That’s true of everything with God; any sacrifice we make is small compared to what God gives us. This song is a pretty simple one that’s about hearing from God and moving forward with direction and guidance.
MARK: "Give Love" was the last song to be recorded for Revelation, and very well could be my favorite. This was one of those moments that can only happen in the studio, and more often than not happen really late in the process. While David was recording drums for another song several of us were working on "Give Love" out in the lobby. The combination of the instruments we were playing gave it the feel of a spontaneous front porch acoustical jam session. In an effort to capture that sort of feel on the record, I played a six-string banjo tuned like a guitar. I don't know what the official term for it is, but we call it a ganjo. With it being the last song we were recording, there was a real fun atmosphere in the room and I think that translated onto the recording. It's a very refreshing moment on the album.
It is a very human reaction, when faced with difficult times, to keep your emotions to yourself. Real love involves risk. It involves sacrifice. This song is God saying to us "Don't worry. Share those things with me. If you open up and love me, you will receive so much more in return than you could ever imagine." Besides being refreshing from a musical standpoint, this song serves as a great response to the stress and intensity of songs like "Run to You" and "Slow Down". After the doubt and humanity of those songs, it's like God's saying "It's OK. Just love me."
TAI: Even though “Give Love” was the last song we worked on for the project, it was the easiest to record and experienced the least refining. But, the song just has a simple beauty and simplicity that is really attractive to me. Even on a rock record like “Revelation”, we have to find these moments to say something, not just scream it. It's not a new message for Third Day, but can we really ever hear it enough?
The Royal Law
If someone asked you to give them one rule to live by, one guideline that would be supreme over all other rules and regulations, what would it be? Many people would point vaguely to ‘love’ and say that ‘love is the answer’, or ‘love makes the world go around’ or ‘all you need is love’. Have you ever wondered if any of the extravagant things said about love are really true? Is it more important than anything else?
Read Luke 10.25-31
This incident concerns a legal expert who is hoping to test and even to trick Jesus. The issue is eternal life- a common discussion point for Jews, and almost certainly the expert is asking about living life in the kingdom of God. He assumes that he can ‘do’ something to achieve eternal kingdom living on his own. Jesus answers a question with another question and steers the man back to scripture, and the man settles upon the following as being absolutely crucial:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind"; and, ":Love your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27, NIV).
He is quoting from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, and Jesus hasn’t led him to these verses in order to confirm that it’s possible to earn your own salvation, but rather to establish that love is central to living kingdom life. Jesus reminds the legal expert that the only adequate response to God’s love in the first place is to love Him back—from the heart, the very centre of your being, with your soul, the part of you that is spiritual and eternal, with all your physical and bodily resources, and with every thought, that is your intellect and the brain that God has given you.
Yet there is more! By leading the man to these verses, Jesus also establishes that a person should love God, should love himself or herself because God loves them, AND should also love others (‘neighbors’ in the widest sense) in the same way that they love themselves. The Apostle Paul suggested later on in the Bible, that loving your neighbor as yourself summed up the entire law (Romans 13:9 an Galatians 5:14) and James called loving your neighbor as yourself the ‘royal law’ (James 2:8). The royal, or most noble, law is the one that governs all other laws of human relationships and life.
Because God has shown his favor and grace and mercy to us, then our only right course of action, the only noble way to act, is to show such love and grace and mercy to others without discriminating- acting in exactly the way we would hope others treat us, and in the way that God HAS ALREADY treated us.
We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God. God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
1 John 4.16-19 The Message
THE WOMAN WHO LOVED JESUS MUCH
Jesus was invited to a dinner party at the home of a Pharisee. A local woman, who had the reputation of living a sinful life, heard that Jesus had been invited and so desperate was she to meet Him that she gate-crashed the party. In theory, poor and needy people could attend such banquets and eat the leftovers, but the Pharisee would have been enraged to see her appear. Most likely she was a prostitute, or at least had a bad reputation based on her relationships with men.
Read about this in Luke 7.36-50
Now it’s important to understand that although the Pharisee had invited Jesus to the meal, he’d done his best to show disrespect to Jesus. Travelers in those ancient times would have walked on dusty and muddy roads, in open toed loose sandals and would have almost certainly had to avoid animal dung as they walked. In other words, whenever they arrived at their destination their feet would have been dirty and urgently in need of a good cleaning. The Pharisee had deliberately not offered Jesus any water with which to clean his feet, so Jesus was sitting at the table with smelly feet and the Pharisee would probably have been enjoying the opportunity to humiliate his guest. Furthermore, Jesus had not been anointed with oil on his arrival- a custom designed to show respect and welcome to an honored guest. So, you get the picture. Jesus had been invited but only to attempt to make Him embarrassed and humiliated.
Meanwhile, the sinful woman appears with a jar of perfume that however small would have been expensive. She proceeds to welcome and honor Jesus in the very two ways that the host has failed to do. So humble and ashamed is she, it is her own tears that act as cleansing for the dirty feet of Jesus, after which she anoints Him with the oil.
The Pharisee is fuming and his thought processes must have been something like this: surely if Jesus is really a prophet then he must know what a shameful woman this intruder is. If he does realize she is so sinful, then why on earth is he letting her touch him, and because he has let her clean him and anoint him then obviously Jesus can’t really be the prophet and teacher he claims to be. So he must be exposed as a fraud and humiliated even more. Either hearing the Pharisee muttering to himself or reading his mind, Jesus responds by telling a short parable about forgiveness and then publicly acknowledging the actions of the woman. He concludes by stating:
"Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little" (Luke 7:47, NIV).
And then turning to the woman herself he says:
"Your sins are forgiven...Your faith has saved you; go in peace" (Luke 7:48 and 50, NIV).
Only Jesus can forgive sins, and He lets the woman know that it is in fact not just her love for Him but her faith in Him that has saved her and has enabled her to leave the encounter free from her past, her shame, her sinfulness. She has been given a new start of peace and hope. When you have received much love and forgiveness from the Lord, your natural response is to overwhelmingly grateful and to love much in return. You realise that faith in Jesus is your only hope and you can never thank Him enough for loving you.
Never believe that you are too much of a sinner to receive the love of God, and never fool yourself, like the Pharisee did, that some people are simply not worth being forgiven, loved and accepted.
Old School Third Day—Listen to ‘Love Song’ from Third Day (the ‘bus’ album) or from Offerings or from Chronology Vol. 1. Or listen to ‘Give’ from Time.
Written by Pastor Nigel James