Beloved let us love one another, for love is of God.
1 John 4:7
The “L” word, LOVE. So many people are afraid of it. They’re afraid that if they feel love they will get hurt. And they’re afraid that if they show love they will appear weak. But love is the foundation of our Christian faith. Without love we would be lost.
The book of First John talks at length about love and what it means to us as Christians. So, today I’d like for us to look at two fundamental parts of love that represent our faith in Jesus.
God’s Love For Us
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 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 4:9-10
The most important component of our Christian love is that God loved us first.
God, the Father, loves us. But our sins are a barrier that separates us from Him. No matter how hard we try we can’t get past it on our own. So, God sent, Jesus, to be the sacrifice for our sins. When Jesus died on the cross the barrier of sin was torn down and the relationship between God and man was restored.
Jesus, the Son, also loves us. He said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Jesus knew that He would face betrayal, pain and death on a cross, but He willingly came to earth anyway. He laid down His life for us so that we could have eternal life with Him. Without the great love of Jesus we wouldn’t have salvation and the assurance of heaven.
It is only because of the love of God the Father, and, Jesus the Son, that we are able to return that love to Him.
Our Love For Others
The second part of our Christian love is to show love to the people in our lives.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11
This verse, from 1 John, talks about the love we have for our Christian brothers and sisters. If God loved us, then we, in turn, should love other believers. How can we show love to an unbelieving world if we can’t even love other Christians? We show this love by being kind to each other, showing respect when we disagree and meeting the physical and spiritual needs of our fellow believers.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
These words of Jesus tell us two things. First, love in a Christian’s life isn’t an option. It’s a commandment straight from the mouth of our Savior. And that love should reflect the love Jesus has for us. If we truly love one another, then we will give the very best of ourselves just as Jesus did for us.
Second, our love for other Christians will be evident to the world. They will see how we treat each other and they should know that we follow Jesus because of it. The question is, what will they see? Will we be a good witness by our actions and turn them to Christ? Or will they take one look and decide that Christianity isn’t for them?
I’m not perfect. I mess up. There are times when I get angry or frustrated. I say things I don’t mean or overreact to a situation. I don’t always live up to the expectations of what Christian love should look like. Like everyone else I have my good days and bad days. I’ll always be a work in progress, but I choose to follow God and let Him mold me into what He wants me to be. Thankfully, His love is greater than our sins and greater than my frustration. Every day is a new day and a new opportunity to show God’s love.
We may not automatically feel love for every person we meet. Sometimes we click with people and sometimes we don’t. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t show the love of Jesus to each and every person God puts in our path. We never know what is going on in someone’s life. They could be going through a very hard time and our love and kindness could be the beacon of hope that leads them to Jesus. If we are willing to let God lead us and show His love to those around us, we will be blessed for it.