"...let us love one another..." I John 4:7
In light of the recent events in our country, I feel compelled to share these five words to encourage you to be intentional in communicating love to your family, friends, neighbors, work associates, and those whom God may bring to intersect with your life's path - especially those who are different than you. It seems our world has lost the understanding and application of love.
The apostle John addressed the audience of his writing as "beloved". He cared deeply for those who would receive this letter, and wanted them to embrace the ideal of love's purpose. He went on to define love: "...for love is of God, and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God." (4:7) All true love, all real love, and all efforts to express authentic love are conduits of God's own expression of Himself... thus love is from God Himself. The writer goes on to delineate the conduit for love's expression as being from those who have been born of God: the same type of experience Jesus spoke of on the evening of Nicodemus' visit. (read John 3:3-7) Only those whose hearts have been ignited by the Holy Spirit's affirmation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah raised from the dead have the actual resource to love genuinely, authentically, and with the same intentional exhibition of love given by Christ on the cross.
Those who are available as the free expression of God's love to others have invested personally in developing a relationship with God. People who love are people who have accepted the love of God through a very private interaction between spirits during time invested in God's eternal Word... this is how one comes to know God. Knowing God is a natural result of time spent in dialogue with the Healer of the heart, the Redeemer of the soul, and the Rescuer to the hopeless. The conversation is ongoing, 'interactional', private and personal. However private the interaction may have been though, God always instructed His followers to NOT keep it that way... He wanted others to know of His availability by simply calling out His name.
John continued the discourse on love by stating that anyone who does not love does not know God. (read verse 8) Anyone who acts unbecoming, unloving, overly critical, prejudicial, spiteful, hateful, etc., is simply providing evidence of a lack of any relationship with the God of the universe, or at least evidence of a lack of time spent with Him. You may say, "But Steve, we all act that way from time to time." Yes, we do. Have you ever noticed that those times come when we are far from God? When we have not spent time in His Word? When we are more focused on ourselves than others? When we are far from God, we lose touch with His ways, His Kingdom, and His voice directing each of us how to live out our lives as banners of His love... His Kingdom of Love. Jesus said others would know we are His disciples by our love for one another (and He possibly inferred love for others who are different from us as well). (read John 13:35)
The apostle Jesus loved then made an obvious observation: "...for God is love." (read verse 8) Because all love is an expression of God... then, God is love. That is the essence of God's existence and being... expressive, elaborate, and eternal. All real love can neither be created nor destroyed, for it originates with God... just as faith originates from Him (Hebrews 12:2). In fact, God's love is faithful. There is a great worship song that was popular a few years ago with the chorus: "Your love never fails; it never gives up; it never runs out on me." Our expression of God's love should be no less.
Let's love one another... even if we don't understand all its nuances or the purposes God may achieve through our fragile vessel.
Love to all,