“We love because he first loved us.” —1 John 4:19
Some have referred to this short and easy–to–memorize verse as “the sum of the Gospel” because it reminds us God first reached out to sinful humanity, displaying His love for us on the cross. It speaks of our capacity to love others.
He first loved you. You can love others.
Believing that God loves us so deeply can be hard, especially when we consider all of our faults and flaws. It’s astonishing, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
God’s love for us should motivate us to love others. When we focus on all God has done for us, and how undeserving we are, it makes loving other people easier.
God’s love calls us to truly love others, even and especially when they are being less than loveable. That’s the nature and character of His love. God goes first. We should too.
When I was an enemy, He loved me. How then, can I not love others? What right, reason, or rationalization could I claim to withhold love?
This verse says more, too. It reveals that selfless love is not something we can muster in and of our own strength. The source of this love is our God—and by His Holy Spirit, He is in us. The well for this kind of love is deep, and abiding.
Our ability to selflessly love others is a reflection of Him in our lives. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16).
My prayer for this week:
Almighty God, you loved me first. Thank you for the reminder this week—and for the challenge to love others as you love me. Will you help me evaluate my love for others? Where am I holding back? Where am I being selfish instead of selfless with love? Please teach me more about mercy, grace, and forgiveness where love is concerned.