We Also Ought to Love

“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.” 1 John 4:7-12

Addressed to the beloved, John’s message encircles his readers in warm possibility that this could be so. You are loved so let us love. It doesn’t have to come from you because you love God, and since you do and He loves you, His love is in you and can flow through you. In fact, it will and must as proof of your relationship with Him. And that love looks like Jesus. (Romans 5:5)

His love is initiating love. It sets affection on and pursues, and though we run from Him and resist His affection, it keeps on pursuing until it finds and captures and enfolds. “Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood.” How are we specifically pursuing others with the love of Christ? (Ephesians 2:1-9; Robert Robinson 1758)

Christ’s love is sacrificial. He set aside His glory to condescend to earth. He surrendered His desire and will to His Father’s. He gave His life so we might live. Where have we laid down our interests, urgencies, scheduled plans for the love of another? Where will we? (Luke 22:42; John 15:13; 17:3-5; Philippians 2:3-8)

Christ’s love is forgiving. With no temper or grudge, no resentment or wrath, the Lord Jesus carried our sins away and remembers them no more. Would we, by act of will, choose to forgive completely and forever, keeping no record of wrongs? (Psalm 103:8-14; Isaiah 43:25; 1 Corinthians 13:5; Ephesians 4:31-32; Hebrews 8:12)

Christ’s love is for the other’s good and best. Totally and purely benevolent, taking no thought for self. Do I love with qualification or strings attached, or freely, wholeheartedly? (Romans 12:9-10; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Contemplating Christ’s love opens the way for us to love anew, in ways and with patience and purpose previously untried. If we have the Son, we have His life and love, meant to be shared. Have we pegged someone as aloof or hard, yet never listened to his story of deep pain and loss? Whom have we written off or avoided because we imagine no commonalities and assume arrogance and rejection? Where can we go the extra mile to visit the lonely, write the grieving, reach out to the needy? (1 John 5:12)

Would we love like Jesus loves? What will we begin to change or begin today?

Lord, may I always love You best and first. Then, abiding in Your love, help me lavish it on others as You do. (1 John 4:16,21)

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