Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:7–8, 16
God is love. If we are believers and we are “in” God then our lives should be characterized by the same love that characterizes Him. This love we are talking about is not simply a warm fuzzy feeling; rather it is a choice that has the highest good of the object loved in mind. This means in relation to others, encouraging them and doing things they will like. Sometimes it means having to say hard things, or things that are difficult to hear.
In class the other day I asked the question: “Who does God love?” Their answer as well as the order was quite surprising but my guess is it is typical.
- Me – This shouldn’t surprise you. After all from the time you were in the nursery you heard “Jesus loves me” sung. Recently I heard another song which said “When Jesus was on the cross He was thinking of me.”
- Believers – After a short period of silence I directed them back to the verses and they, said oh yeah, other believers. They also admitted that loving other believers is often harder than loving the next group. •
- Unbelievers –This one I really had to drag out of them, it was as if it was something very bitter and they could hardly embrace it. This includes everyone not in the first two categories. (yes it includes our unbelieving family members, enemies, muslims and even people like Osama Bin Laden).
So we see the mark of the believer is love. John is saying that to know the love of God is to manifest, make known, His love. We do that because He is in us and that is His nature. So who do we love? Believers and unbelievers alike. Now you may be saying that is easy for you to say but … Here is the key – if you are totally surrendered to God and it is not “I who live but Christ in me”, then it is totally possible to love our enemies, family members and even other believers.
What have I learned from these verses?
- 1. God is love – my life should be characterized by the same love that characterizes Him.
- 2. This love is not a warm fuzzy feeling, it is an action.
- 3. If I am His – I am to make His love known to those around me – both believers and unbelievers alike. It is not an option, nor will it simply “happen”, I must be intentional about it.
This isn’t meant to be a monologue, leave a comment and let’s discuss these truths.
Question: How will understanding that God is love and you are to make His love known to those around you impact they way you relate to both believers and unbelievers alike.
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