1 John 4:7-12
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
The Bible tells us that God created people in his image, which means, among other things, that God chose to endow us with some of the same characteristics and capacities that He has. Above all else, God gave us the ability to love, and love is at the center of God’s own nature. We can love because God loves. Even more remarkable, God shows us how to love. He speaks to us with grace. He listens to us with compassion. He answers our prayers wisely and mercifully. And in the greatest act of love the world has ever known, God sent his own Son to die for us, giving his life as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. God created us to love, He teaches us how to love, and He has shown us perfect love.
This is why the Christian life must center around love. Love for God. Love for one another. Love for neighbors. We will never love as perfectly or purely as God does, but John tells us that our love completes God’s love. We love others on behalf of God and in the name of Jesus. We share love in response to how God loves us, and when we reflect God’s love in our actions and words, we help to complete the purpose and meaning of his divine love. Jesus’ atoning sacrifice was the ultimate expression of love, and God also desires for his love to find fulfillment through our lives and actions. We receive God’s love and then share it with others, and in that way “his love is made complete in us.”
What an awesome responsibility God has entrusted to us! We begin within the church, caring for, even sacrificing our own wants and needs for, our brothers and sisters in Christ. We speak words of encouragement and hope. We share joy and spread peace within our church family. Love among believers should define our fellowship and should radiate from all we do in the church. Then, we also share love beyond the family of believers. We reach out with compassion, lifting up those who are hurting or alone. Like Jesus, we love people society ignores and rejects. We seek to replace injustice and hate with kindness and mercy. Loving our neighbors in practical, life-affirming ways should give shape to our evangelistic efforts and should allow the light of Christ to shine into the dark places of our community. We love because God first loved us.
Loving Father, thank You for creating me to love the way You do. Teach me to see others with eyes of compassion and grace. Use me to spread Your love within the church and around the community. I love You and pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian