In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only begotten 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. 1 John 4:9-11
When I describe the love of my Mama and Daddy, I talk about Mama sewing beautiful dresses for me while I was growing up. I tell of the time that Daddy stayed up with me into the early morning hours working on an essay I was having trouble with. I tell of their hard work to make the money last through the month, so that we were comfortable.
I know their love for their children when I remember their actions … their self-sacrifices for us. Through their love, I learned what love looks like and how to love others.
3 Reasons to Love Others
John writes of God’s love for His children and gives us three reasons we are obligated to love our fellow Christians.
- God sent His only begotten Son into the world. Jesus emptied Himself of the glory He had with God in heaven to enter the world as a baby. He grew up and walked this earth teaching that “the kingdom of God is at hand,” Mark 1:15. He healed the sick, touched the leper, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and life to the dead.
- We live through Jesus. We are new creations in Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:17. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 6:19. As we offer ourselves to God, we are being transformed and renewed for the life God intends for us, Romans 12:1-2.
- God gave Jesus to the world to pay the price for our sins. Jesus, perfect in all His ways, no blemish in Him, took your sins, my sins, and the world’s sins upon Himself as He hung on the cross. God poured out His wrath upon Jesus on that cross. Jesus gave all for you and me. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered sin and death. Jesus sits at the right hand of God today, speaking on our behalf.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1a
Beloved, if God so loved the world, how can we not love one another?
But it’s difficult sometimes, isn’t it? That’s because we are still being transformed. Like Paul, we must say
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
The camp of Israel had the tabernacle of God in the center of their camp. Every morning when an Israelite stepped out of her tent, she saw the cloud over the tabernacle. Every evening, she saw the pillar of fire over the tabernacle. Her immediate focus was God Almighty who provided her every need.
We must have God at the center of our focus.
“Love God supremely; God must become the center of your existence, the center of your life.” Pastor Chuck Smith
Please share how you focus on God’s love for you.
Our Father in heaven, You sacrificed Your all for us. Thank You, Father. Words cannot describe the love You have for us. Help us to grow in the knowledge and experience of Your love. As we grow in that love, empower us to love others as You love. Father, You are love. You are holy. You are just. You are righteous. This love is too great, too awesome, too amazing for us to comprehend! We love You, Lord, in our small way. Increase our capacity to love you and others. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.