God help me to pattern my love on the way you first loved us.
Read: 1 John 3:16-18 NIV
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
The verses above define the epitome of love as Jesus death on the cross. Coincidentally we can turn to the famous verse in John 3:16 to glean some additional insights about this love. The first observation about God’s love is that it involved action. God’s giving was the direct outflow of his love. If love were only a feeling or emotion, then God couldn’t command us to love as feelings/emotions aren’t things that we can conjure up. Regardless of how we feel however, we can always act and thus God can justly command us to love. Notice next the nature of the gift. The gift was sacrificial, it involved giving up something that was valuable. From the Father’s perspective he gave his only Son; from Jesus’ perspective he was giving up his life. Lastly, notice that the gift was given freely. It doesn’t say that God gave us his Son in exchange for anything, but simply that he gave.
With all the competing and often contrary concepts of love we get from our contemporary culture I can’t think of a better reference for love then the root of love itself, God. God’s word says that the world will know we are his disciples by the way we love one another and thus it’s crucial that we do this well. Both John 3:16 and 1 John 3: 16 -18 are a good rubric on love and thus we should ask ourselves, “How I am doing?”. Does your love manifest itself in action? Does your love involve sacrifice? Is your love given freely or does it seek something in return?
Lord, thanks for your love, a love that took action. You saw our need for a savior and you gave us a free gift, your Son. Help me to understand what incredible love has been lavished on us through Jesus so that I may seek to love others.