Coated With Love

1 John 4:7-12 ESV- 7“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In this, 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. 10In 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. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.”

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! What an appropriate day to talk about love! The day where hearts and roses and mushy cards are floating all over the world. When love is oozing from nearly everything and running rampant throughout the land…

Or is it?

It’s no secret that the world is lacking in the love department these days. Racial division, religious animosity, fearing anyone that looks or acts differently than we’re used to… the list could go on. Bullying is at an all-time high. Deception, assault, and even murder are not lagging far behind. So many people are filled with hatred and disgust for no good reason at all.

This breaks my heart.

Mostly, because it confirms that a big portion of the world does not know God. (1 John 4:8) This leaves a huge responsibility for Christians. We have got to make sure that we love people the way Jesus would. It has to go beyond talking about it, or reading and writing about it… We have to show it. It’s not a suggestion or a recommendation. It’s a commandment. (John 15:12) It’s expected of us.

Why? Because that’s how the world will know we’re His. (John 13:35)

Although we can’t always sufficiently explain how God knows these things, we know He does, so we should just follow His instruction by faith. Yet, so many times we fall prey to the lies that we have to be tough to stand for what’s right, act repulsed by someone’s sinful ways, and voice our spiritual opinion at every given opportunity. We have to dress like this and stay away from that because we think that’s how the world will know. But, guys, we don’t know more than He does. His ways don’t need perfecting. When we think we can fix God’s plan, you know- help Him out- we mess it all up. We simply need to obey. And He told us to love one another.

When we recall the grace He’s abounded to us over and over; when we remember that Christ was mocked, spat upon, and nailed to a cross for our sins; when we accept the fact that without His mercy we would be lost and miserable and without hope- humility nestles itself in the center of our hearts. When He bestows such great forgiveness and unconditional love to us, how could we ever be okay with giving anything less?

I have failed Him miserably at times. I’ve been selfish, hurtful, ungrateful, self-righteous… And yet, He continues to love me and bless me. He encourages me daily in His Word, tells me how precious I am to Him, and how much He believes in me. I can run into His open arms and receive undeserved grace for every mistake. So how could I, one who has done nothing so selfless and kind as Him, hold others to a higher level and treat them with disdain or disappointment when they falter?

Friends, we are loved immensely by the God Who reigns on high. He didn’t want Heaven without us… so He sent Jesus to fix that. He thinks we are to die for! Precious. Valued. Irreplaceable. Useful. Filled with Potential. Strong. Important. Special.

He feels that way and believes that about every single person on this earth. The vilest human on the planet is adored by Jesus. He died for us all. So, when you take a stand- exhibit humility. When you voice an opinion- coat every word with love. Give mercy. Portray grace. Smile at strangers and hand out encouragement liberally.

We should love… because He first loved us.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for your unmatched love… for showing me new mercy every single morning. Thank You for seeing worth in me when I’m at my worst. Lord, I don’t deserve Your grace… still, you smile every time it’s bestowed on me. Help me love like You, Jesus. Let it cover my every word and action. I want people to come to know You, and I know these opportunities will arise as I allow Your love to be perfected in me. Amen.  

 

Whoever Loves

(1 John 4:7-12 ESV) Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this 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. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.


Valentine’s Day. Candy. Cards. Flowers. Kisses. Love. Who doesn’t like Valentine’s Day? Something captured my attention as I was reading this passage of Scripture. “Whoever loves has been born of God and knows God…” What?

There would be some vigorous disagreement from non-Christians (Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists, etc.) about whether or not the love they experience comes from God. Isn’t it true that they love their wives and kids? Don’t they experience compassion for the needy? Absolutely, yes. Everyone has been created in the image of God. EVERYONE? EVERYONE. Whoever loves has been born of God…”

John must have had something more in mind when he made this bold statement. I believe the deeper meaning refers to the depth and quality of love that can only be experienced through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Scripture identifies at least 3 different types of love. Eros (physical), phileo (brotherly), and agape (spiritual). Even non-Christian individuals experience and express eros and phileo love. However, agape love can only be experienced inside of a relationship with God through His son–Jesus Christ.

If God is the source of all love, then whatever love a man has in him comes from God; and this part of his moral nature is of Divine origin. Of ‘every one that loves’ is this true, whether he be heathen or Christian: there is no limitation. If a Socrates or a Marcus Aurelius loves his fellow-men, it is by the grace of God that he does so.
-Cambridge Commentary

God wants us to experience and express the spiritual love (agape) that comes from living through Him. “In this 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.”

God loved us when we were undeserving of it. He loved us before we loved Him; when we were most unwilling to accept it. His love was in us even when we did not acknowledge it.

Keith Green spoke so eloquently through the lyrics of his song, Your Love Broke Through.

Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed.
Until your love broke through.
I’ve been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me.
Until your love broke through.
-Keith Green


PRAYER: Father, thank you for allowing Your love to break through so that we can live life experiencing and expressing it to those around us. Amen.