The Love of God

1 John 4

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

“Beloved, let us love one another, since love is from God. All those who love are born of God and know God. The one without love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God has been made known among us: God sent his only son into the world so that we would live through him. This is love! Not that we loved God, but because He loved us and sent his son as the means of sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:7-10

Love. This word is perhaps the most overused and misunderstood in the English language. We say we love everything and yet really we love nothing. The love Christ compels in us is not as simple and shallow as a heart on a text message. I think I started looking for love in the fourth grade. The search became something of an obsession of mine for years. The more I looked and the harder I searched, the further I found myself from it. There was a part of me that believed if I found love I would find completion and fulfillment. I wasn’t wrong. Where I missed the mark was the kind of love that I was looking for.

The Greeks had three different words for love (eros, philos, and agape). I thought that if I had friends (philos as in Philadelphia, brotherly love) or a partner (eros, the romantic strain of love) that I would find all that I was looking for. I was sorely disappointed. Over many years I was humbled and allowed to suffer at the hands of my addiction so that I could learn this valuable lesson. Nothing of this world, no person, no substance, no relationship, is able to fill the God-sized vacuum in our hearts intended for the love of God. Until we allow this all-consuming, never-ending love of Jesus into our hearts and allow God to be God of our lives, we will always be seeking and never finding.

When I was born again and set free from bondage, Jesus showed me that He was what I was looking for all along. These days I use “love” all the time. And I mean it. We talked yesterday about “reflexive love”, the kind of love that automatically flows from the saving love demonstrated for us on the cross.

The Bible is full of wonderful stories that all point to the love of God, because every word is “God-breathed”. If every word is the breath of God, ruach Elohim, and God is love, then it stands to reason that every word is love. More than anything, the Bible is a love story. I’m not talking about Nicholas Sparks kind of love, and especially not the kind of love shown in romance novels featuring Fabio on the cover holding a sword and riding a horse. I’m talking about an eternal, unending, never failing, build your life around kind of love. A day and night, flood and fire kind of love!

If you are measuring yourself against others and seeking satisfaction in things of this world, you will perpetually be dissatisfied. Let this day be a love song you sing to Jesus in response for all He has done for you. Let love be your chorus and refrain. Seek first the love of Jesus and pray for opportunities to pour it into others. There is a whole world out there of broken people seeking nourishment in that which does not satisfy. Today, strive to incarnate the love of Jesus among the unloved. You can make more of a difference in this darkened world than you know.

Reflect

  1. How do you know God loves you? How do you show God you love Him?
  2. Read 2 Peter 1:5-7. Each desired attribute of the faith builds on the one preceding it. Why do you think Peter lists love last? What does this communicate to you about the Jesus’ message of love?

Pray

Heavenly Father, I thank you for showering me with love. I praise you for offering your Son so that I would feel that love forever. Your love is unconditional, never-ending, and never falls short. By the power of your Holy Spirit, enable me to love like Jesus. May the world recognize Jesus at work in my life by the love I pour out for others. Move me and shape me with love, by love, and for the sake of love. I pray all this in the name of Love, your son Jesus, Amen.

Zac Holt, April 30, 2020
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