“We love because He first loved us.”1 John 4:19 (NIV)
love one another- the Bible is very clear over and over how important, dare I say, mandatory this is. Yet to be such a staple in Christianity it sure is hard to love one another when the other is acting unlovable. We often fall short of what the Bible describes as this act of love for the people around us. And no matter how much I want to love even the unlovely, I catch myself slipping up time and time again.
Then I took a step back and realized that my issues loving other people were coming from my issues understanding that God loved me. You won’t love the unlovely properly until you capture the understanding that God loves you- even when you’re the unlovely one. Because God’s love for us is designed to be our example. You won’t be able to love your spouse properly if you don’t know that God loves you. You won’t be able to love your family properly if you don’t know God loves you. You won’t be able to love your neighbor properly if you don’t know God loves you.
But how can we know God’s love for us? This is the question I asked God when I realized my understanding of His love for me had only scratched the surface. The verse that came to mind was Psalm 34:8 (NIV), “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Taste and see. Take a bite out of His faithfulness, try out His mercy, exercise His grace, sample His peace, taste His love by utilizing it for yourself. Because according to the verse in Psalm, if you could just get a taste, that would be enough to convince you God is good. God loves you. God is for you.
There are some things you have been holding onto, maybe even subconsciously. Maybe because you’re afraid that if you give them to God He might not come through for you, or He might not do it how you want it done so you’ve been trying to do it yourself. Bring it to Him, taste and see that He is the Way Maker and He’s got this.
Maybe you’ve been holding onto some things because you’re ashamed of them and don’t want God to turn you away. Bring it to Him, taste and see that His grace is sufficient for you.
Maybe you’ve been holding onto some things because you’re afraid of where God is leading you. That this direction is too unknown, too big, too daunting for you to follow Him. Let those things go, taste and see that He is the Good Shepherd and His ways are always the best ways.
Because when we exercise this act of laying things at His feet, and tasting His provision for us, we learn each time a little bit more about how He loves us. If you’re afraid God’s love will run out for you then you’ll keep running out of love for the people around you. “Love one another” is too important of a command for us to skip over it. It’s too vital for the bleeding souls around us. It’s too crucial for your calling to not know how to love people. But first, you’ve got to know that God loves you. Give Him the chance to love on you in your life today. Bring something to Him, and watch Him work it into a masterpiece out of love for you.
“We love because He first loved us.”