Love Loved Loving
23 August 2016
Reading: Jeremiah 31-32; 1 John 4
16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters. (1 John 4:16-21 NLT)
John uses a form of the word “love” fifteen times in this short section of his letter. I just slowed down and read and re-read this several times. The way John writes about love, it’s not a warm and fuzzy feeling or a sloppy and sentimental emotion. It’s solid and firm. It’s worry-freeing and fear-banishing. It’s faith-requiring. Take a few minutes and think through these verses with me:
• God is love. How is God defined in your functional, operational thinking? Do you need to redefine God according to his revelation of himself?
• We live in God and God lives in us. I don’t live in a world of uncertainty. I live in God. God isn’t far away. He lives in me. I will learn to let him be God in me!
• As I let him run things in my life, I can stop worrying about how I’m doing. It’s God who’s doing it!
• God’s love in me drives out fear: fear of death, fear of judgment, fear of failure, fear of…? His maturing love in me leaves no room for fearful, anxious, stressed-out thinking.
• With God (Love) living in me, I am loved and I’m going to love others. He loved me first. Now I can love him. Now I can love others.
• The best indicator of how I’m doing with letting God live in me and love me is how I’m doing with loving and accepting other people.
Father, Once again your word is simple but not easy. May I accept your love and let your fear-banishing love live in me. May I give your love full control of my life and may I learn to love with the love of Christ. Amen.