Love First

Last Sunday we looked at what experiencing God’s love should do in us. This part of 1 John 4 stuck out at me:

10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:10

Think about that. This is love. It isn’t that we loved God and so He loved us. He loved us first! Of all the differences between human love and God’s love, this may be the foundational difference for us. As humans, we love those who love us… (example… how children love their parents) OR – We grow to love those who are also growing to love us. (example… how most friendships and healthy romantic relationships develop) It is rare for the total commitment that God-like love has to exist without being loved in return. (obvious exception… parent to new-born)

Yet, John asks us to love like this. He asks us to love first. He also asks that love to be of the same type: sacrificial. This is consistent in the New Testament. How Jesus loved is supposed to be the pattern of our love for one another. Think about what Paul tells the church in Rome their love should look like. He calls us to love without hypocrisy.  He calls us to commit to loving in a profound way.  Love is different from being nice.  Love is real.  Love is committed. Love rejoices with those who rejoice. Love weeps with those who weep. Love seeks good always. Love values people no matter what they can give us. Real love even blesses enemies!

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12  rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13  contributing to the needs of the saints,  practicing hospitality.

Romans 12:9-13

Think about the profound power such love has.  Such love would walk with the hurting.  Such love would give those who long for connection a place to connect with real people.  Such love would woo an enemy until the enemy was won over. Such love would show the world that Jesus means it when He says that He loves. Such love would look like Jesus.

Does our love look like Jesus? Does it look like Him when we are hearing the pain of others? Does it look like Jesus when we see a brother or sister in need? Does it look like Jesus when an enemy is struggling? Does our love look like Jesus when the lost persecutes us?

It is hard sometimes to remember that the standard of our love is not what we see around us in our friendships and families. It is not even that nice neighbor who always seems to have a smile for others.  Even though those around us can be good examples, our real standard of love is Jesus.  His commitment, His fervency, and His steadfastness is our calling.  Let as, as Paul encouraged, “love without hypocrisy.” Let us love like Jesus. And as John encouraged us, let us love first.

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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