Plain and simple, if you have accepted Christ into your life, you have experiences the greatest love. It is the deepest, truest, purest love, directly from its Creator.
Simply put, all love comes from God because God IS Love. And we can only give love if we have received love.
"Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love." - 1 John 4:8
John is telling us that when we really know and experience God's love in our lives, it allows us to truly love each other. The love of Christ has the power to transform every aspect of our lives; it gives us both the power to love each other and a perfect example of how we are to love. This is why Jesus shares that it's our love for others that will verify that we are followers of Christ. Only those who have experiences the love of Christ can live out the fullness of love.
Boy, does the love of Christ change everything! It changes what we do and who are are! We are to love just as Jesus loved because we are deeply loved by God. The struggle we have in loving each other comes from an inability to know how greatly we are loved by God. We have to know we are loved to really live with love.
In the same way, we can't accept someone unless we know we are fully accepted by God. We cant love unconditionally unless we have recited God's unconditional love. We cant give to others if we have not fully received the overwhelming gift of God's love.
The love of Christ is what pushes us to actually love. Love is not what we intend to do. It is not feeling some emotional pull to help each other. Love is an action. It's practical, not merely theoretical or emotional. Love flows out of a heart that has encountered the marvelous, abundant love of Christ.
"Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. A fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." -Ephesians 5:2
The love of Christ is what empowers us to live like Christ! The more our lives are centered and deeply rooted in Christ's love for us, the more we live to love others as Christ loved us. As this simple truth begins to reveal itself in our lives, the weight of trying to love with our own power is lifted.
Sometimes I wonder what it looked like to love, then I look over how Jesus loved us. Jesus loved through applying His power, influence and resources to help meet every need we have. He sacrificed what He deserved for the sake of serving us. He loved us when we did not deserve it and even when we ran from Him. He had all the power, the authority; but He used all that He had to serve us. he gave His all to love us through it all. Love isn't a feeling. It's a decision to place the needs of others before our own. Love means sharing one another's burdens. Love means giving to one another without the guarantee of getting anything back. Love means giving others what they need, not what they deserve. Love involves our sacrificial actions, choices, behavior, and commitments.
Too often I think we sit around waiting for a feeling of love to motive us to serve. When that doesn't happen, we conclude that God must not be calling us to love them because we don't feel anything. As a result, we do nothing.
But what would happen if we change that and just start loving? Loving regardless of how we might feel about each other; loving regardless of how unloveable others may seem. Actively and consistently just loving each other, no matter how difficult it might be. Not because they deserve our love, but because the love of Jesus is our motivation and example. Our decision to love in an act of loving obedience to what Jesus has called us to do. This is living a life of faith, not a life based on feelings.
Prayers for us to love like Christ and live it out!
Jesus lover, wife, momma, teacher, and hopeful writer.