“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
I John 4:11
Recently, I took a trip down to South Carolina to visit a friend of mine from college. He and his wife have been married about a year-and-a-half now and were recently blessed with the arrival of their firstborn son, Josiah. During my visit, I was reminded of just a few of the rewards and responsibilities that come with being a parent. Josiah is the pride and joy of his parents, and they are both committed to laying down their lives daily to love and care for their little man. Their love for Josiah serves as a beautiful illustration of the great love that our Heavenly Father has for each of us as His children – a love so deep, that he was willing to lay down His life in exchange for ours.
Today, we are meditating on 1 John 4:11. In this verse, John uses the phrase “…God so loved…” These words put us in remembrance of another passage of Scripture written by John in which he wrote, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…” (John 3:16) Here in I John 4:11, John is reminding his beloved brothers and sisters in Christ of the immeasurable love that God has for His children and exhorting that they in turn should live a life filled with love for others. Let’s look at a few reasons why we as believers ought to love one another:
- Love is the core element of our spiritual DNA – In mathematics, the word “is” can often be interchanged with word “equals.” Twice in 1 John 4 (vv. 8, 16), we are reminded that God is (or equals) love. As children of God, we inherited His divine nature at the time of our spiritual birth. Love is the very essence of His nature and has therefore become a part of our identity as well. If we are truly born of God, His love will be evident in our lives – not only in our love for Him, but also in our love for others.
- Love is the evidence that Christ dwells in us – In John 13:35, Jesus says that all men will know we are His disciples if we have love for one another. Many professing Christians claim to love God, but if a genuine love for others is not present, that is evidence of a life not fully surrendered to Christ.
- Love is the fulfillment of the law – In Matthew 22, a lawyer asked Jesus which commandment in the Law was the greatest. Jesus responded by saying that all the law is fulfilled by keeping two commandments: 1) love God and 2) love others. Take a moment now to think of the many “dos” and “don’ts” recorded throughout Scripture. Isn’t it amazing that all these commandments will be fulfilled simply by living a life that is filled with an unwavering love for God and others?
Today, let’s humbly bow before God and invite Him to examine our lives to see whether they’re ones marked by love. When Christ indwells us, we can go forth in boldness knowing that His love has transformed our lives and that He has given us everything we need to love one another.
How will you love those around you today?