My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God.
The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love – so you can’t know him if you don’t love.
This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about – not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.
My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us – perfect love!
This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God.
We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day – our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s.
There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love – love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. (1 John 4:7-21)
True love…what comes to your mind when you think of this phrase? Disney Princes and Princesses, riding off into the sunset? A backlit image of a couple walking hand in hand on a beach? Blissful, contented images, that evoke emotions of fullness and peace.
True love, though, is a little more gritty than that. God in His Word (The Bible) calls us to love one another- deeply, unceasingly, incessantly, without reserve, and over the top.
The type of love that the Word calls us to is one that we are incapable of strumming up on our own. It is only by the power of God that we are able to be filled with and pour out this love. The love that He gives us is the exact love that He holds in His own heart.
The classic scripture of 1 Corinthians 13 “The Love Chapter” is read in many wedding vows, hung on many a wall, and has been heard by most people at one time or anther. Please look upon it with new eyes as I present it to you from The Message-
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
This is some intense love. It never gives up- even when the one it is loving never ever loves it back- it is unrelenting. It isn’t prideful, thinking “Look how much I can love!” It doesn’t fly off the handle- this love is patient with people. Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others- God casts our sins so far from Himself when we ask forgiveness that He never EVER will bring them back up to us, holding forth a tally of “Look-what-you-did’s” Love puts up with anything, and keeps going to the end.
You are loved in this very way by God. And in the way that He loves you, He calls you to love other people. He wants us to reflect His heart of love.
If you have told God that you want a relationship with Him, and that you believe in His Son Jesus, you can have this love. He will fully equip you with it. God gave us His Spirit, and the Spirit lives inside of you, giving you power to do things you can’t in your own human nature. If you ask God to fill you with His True Love, He will. Tell Him that you need His love, and can’t do it on your own. Ask Him to make you aware of any areas in your life that you might hold on to bitterness in, and tell Him you don’t want that in your life anymore. This is called surrendering to God. Surrender those areas, and ask Him to change you, to give you a heart that loves like He does. And then ask to be made aware of the times you are NOT acting in True Love. When you find yourself acting in a way that is not loving, ask His forgiveness right away, and ask for His love instead.
God wants us to live lives of Love. All out, forgiving, gentle, kind, passionate, relentless love.
Do you love like this? Or do you find yourself living in selfish love? Perhaps you have trouble with the area of love that is forgiving towards others. Ask God to change you, to make you able to let go of those things that you just can’t seem to forget, and make a conscious effort to put aside those thoughts of unforgiveness when they pop into your mind.
This Christmas season, let us live in Love. The ultimate gift of Love was given to us in the birth of Jesus Christ. Show that love to the world this season! Ask God to show you ways you can live in True Love, and ask Him to change you in the areas where you struggle. You will never be the same again, and your heart will rejoice within you as you are filled with His love.