“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.” 1 John 4:19-21 ESV
The Source of Love
It is a simple seven word verse.
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Yet it contains the whole world.
Everything we are, and everything we are able to do, is because of God.
We breathe because of Him.
We live because of Him.
We love because of Him.
All because of God, Who Himself is Love (1 John 4:8.)
To know that God loves, and to love again–there is a little pocket encyclopedia in two volumes, which contains the smelted-down essence of all theology and of all morality. – Alexander MacLaren
Love One Another
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. 1 John 4:20
And He Who is the Love that is the origin of all earthly love we will ever feel – that Love wants to be loved back by us loving one another.
God is the source of our love for others, and our love for others is the proof of our love for God. If we love God, we can’t help but love others, and conversely, if we do not love others, then we demonstrate that we don’t truly love God.
It is an endless circle, this exquisite giving and receiving of love. A circle that had its beginning with God Himself, Love incarnate. And in a continued display of the depth of His caring for us, it is when we love each other that we truly love Him.
His taking is in fact a giving. His receiving of our love for Him is in the vessel of our loving others.
Commanded to Love
And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:21
Make no mistake – this is no fluffy Valentine love that He is commanding. And yes, He is commanding.
No, this is dying-to-self love, bleeding for others love. We can not only love people who make us feel good, or even just seem like us. We can not merely love others when it is convenient or comfortable.
The love that a God-lover loves is a beautiful mess of trusting Him and not relying on logic. It’s the kind of love that gives away food when your stomach is growling. The kind of love that wipes tears on faces that don’t look like yours.
And the unsettling reality is that if we don’t do it, if we choose not to love, but instead we keep our eyes fixed on ourselves, we are breaking a commandment. We are sinning.
This is the kind of love that doesn’t seek its own happiness, yet always finds joy.
As we look forward to Christmas, we do well to remember that all of our earthly gift giving is only because of the greatest gift of love the world has seen.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Be blessed as you bless others with your love today.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
- Read 1 John 4:19-21. Write down the truths, promises and commands you find in this passage.
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Write a list of the words that describe love. Which ones come easily to you? Which do you struggle with?
- Read Luke 6:35-36. Who does the word “enemy” make you think of? Ask the Lord to show you whom He wants you to bless today.