Week 4, Day 4
Loved People Love Other People
By: Sarah Johnson
1 John 4:19
“We love because God first loved us.”
The instant I read this verse I hear the song that my Sunday School teacher sang with us to help memorize these important words. In only seven words this verse sums up our whole mission given by God and the only way to accomplish it. We are commanded to love others and we can only do that by acknowledging God’s powerful love for us.
How did God first love us? John tells us earlier in verses 9 and 10 that, “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.” I am amazed and humbled that God would send all the punishment that was destined for you and me on Jesus. This kind of love is beautifully overwhelming.
How should we respond to this love? John explains in verse 15 that, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” If we accept God’s gift of love by believing that he sent Jesus to save us, then God’s spirit dwells within us. “God is love” John states in verse 16. As we come to know God more and more by reading about Him in the Bible our knowledge of what love is grows.
Why should we love others? John clarifies in verse 20 that, “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.” If we truly understand God’s love as a longing to save us while were sinners, how can we not also long to bring that love to our fellow sinners. If his spirit lives within us, we are compelled to join God on His mission of helping everyone accept His gift of love.
How has this verse impacted my life? It is a simple but powerful way for me to reflect on what my motivations are when loving those around me. There are times when I feel like loving others is super hard and exhausting. Sometimes it feels like nothing I do is working and I create problems rather than solutions. Then I think of this verse and realize that I am trying to love others using my own insight and incorrect view of love. Instead I need to be spending time with God through reading his word and allowing him to fill me with His great desire. It is not just about helping others fix problems or filling a need, it is about showing others how much God loves them. It is incredible how the instant I start reading my Bible more and praying for those around me, that God’s love starts moving. It is not that loving others becomes magically easier, but that my heart is now open to how God wants to reveal his love to those around me.
What is your motivation for loving others? How do you think that learning more about God’s love for you would impact that motivation?