“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” – 1 John 4:7-12
Looking at our passage, we see the word love bolded thirteen times! God does the initiating of his love by sending his one and only Son, Jesus, into the the world (vs.9) to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins (vs.10). God did not have to send Jesus. He could have left us in our sin. Yet, God’s love is so deep and so wide (Ephesians 3:18-19) he rescued us from our sin. He initiated our redemption through the blood of Jesus. In verses 8,11 and 12, we see God’s love is not passive, rather it changes and transforms us. We cannot love if we do not know God, because God is love. We are his creation, made in his image, and an extension of his love. God’s love drives us to care for a person in need, to offer empathy to a grieving friend, to rejoice with one who comes to know Christ.
Today, I offer you a challenge – how will you initiate God’s love to another person encountering a mental health crisis, a friend with differing political views, apologizing to your brother or sister, asking forgiveness for your mistakes or listening well to someone else’s feelings and concerns.
You and I do not love because we want to. We love because God first loved us. His love creates a desire within us to be obedient to him in giving his love to those around us. We love because God’s love changes and transforms us.
The month of February is about LOVE. As Valentine’s Day approaches, take the initiative to love others as God loves you and watch it change and transform you and the person you shared it with.