Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Love: Because He First Loved Us

As we saw in 1 John 4: 8, 16b, love is divine because it is part of the very essence of God Himself.  God IS love.  Today, John tells us another crucial bit of information:  "We love because He first loved us."  (1 John 4:19)  The divine nature of love is therefore confirmed and affirmed in this verse.  It is not of human origin.  It comes directly from the Maker who loved us first so we could learn what love really is.

The human version of love makes it seem impossible to love the way the Bible tells us to love.  For instance, Jesus tells us in Matthew 5: 44 to "love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us."  I don't know about you, but I have tried to do this on my own, by my own strength and I have failed time after time. Do you know what I'm talking about? It is not humanly possible! It requires our surrender of the issue to Christ who can crucify it for us and bring it back to life again as something new.  Only then, with and by His strength we are able to do so.  Apart from Him who IS love and who plants the seed of love in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we cannot truly love those who hurt us.  

God chooses us to love us, and by receiving His love we learn how to love. Without him, the kind of love we can experience is a rather selfish human emotion that betrays us as it masquerades as real love. The "love" we experience apart from Christ is the love that focuses on self, seeking satisfaction centered around "I". The love we experience in Christ focuses on Him and because we want to serve Him and obey Him, it spills over to our neighbors, even the ones we don't get along with, even the ones who are so very hard to love. We are able to do this as we remember that God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 8  We have no other choice than to humble ourselves, leave our pride behind and attempt to love as He has first loved us. It sure is easier said than done...but it is our mission to try to accomplish it as best as we can for Jesus Himself told us: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13: 35.

If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love. John 15: 10

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