“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.” – 1 John 4:7.
Love is a huge and lofty idea, that is hard to clearly define. And when you add love, as Jesus Christ loves each one of us, it becomes impossible for us to get our mind around it. When you ask a group of friends how they would define love, you would get some of the usual suspects: love is a choice or love is a sacrifice or a feeling. Or it may be someone will see it as being embodied in a specific action: “Real love is a run to Steak and Shake for a peppermint shake for my pregnant wife.”
The kind of love that we all deeply long for is one that simply cannot be explained or satisfied by our vision or definition of love. We will come up without joy and peace time and time again if we rely on the world’s system of love to meet our need that can only be satisfied by a redeeming and agape love. As the scripture reveals to us, God first loved us, when our backs were turned to Him and we had nothing to offer Him. If we are to follow this incredible and somewhat incomprehensible type of love then we must look at love differently. The most loving thing we can do for others is love God more than we love them.
Jesus loved people. He loved thieves, prostitutes, and tax collectors, diseased and poor people. He loved people who were devoted to Him and those who were different from Him. He even loved difficult and dangerous people. And His love is the same today as it was 2,000 years ago. Because we are loved by Him, we are called to love like Him.
How we love others reveals how we love God. The apostle John says: “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer,[a] that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” (1 John 4:20).
Since the greatest and second greatest commandments are involved in these things, we know they are important to God. So perhaps the best thing we can do today is take an honest, lingering look at the way we love others, decide what needs to be changed and ask God for the wisdom and courage to do the most loving thing we can do for somebody today.
Imagine for a moment if we would really love others the way Jesus does. There would be no gossip, no judgement or criticism, no exclusive attitudes that make others feel rejected, and people’s needs would be met much more than they are. Our relationships would be so much better and so would our lives.
- Do you think it’s easy or hard for the world to see Jesus’ love when they look at you?
- What are some practical ways for you to give others a taste of what the love of God is like?