1 John 4:19 – We love because He first loved us.
Our love for God is responsive. We didn’t ask to be loved, we didn’t work for it or nor can even try to earn it. There is nothing in us that causes God to love us yet, we love because He first loved us. God is, at his essence, Love (1 John 4:8). We love Him because we strive to be the reflection of the excellency of His character. He loves us unconditionally and freely, simply wanting to draw us to Him.
God loved us first and always. God manifested this love to us by sending His Son to redeem us. He loves us as He loves His son, which is from before the foundations of the earth, from everlasting to everlasting. This why we now love Him.
In every true-love relationship, the giver of love hopes that the love will be requited from the receiver. One of the truest manifestations of love is a deep longing to simply ‘be’ with the other person, not necessarily to ‘do’ anything, but simply just to be: to bask in the presence of the loved one, to cling to every word, soaking it in; to give of one’s possessions, one’s spirit, one’s resources, one’s time. Is this how we love God?
John tells us in 1 John 3:18, that we are to love in action and in deed (not in words alone). He refers to us as little children! I wonder if he means that we have much to learn when it comes to loving others in its pure form, as Christ demonstrates for us.
We also love Him because the infinite excellence of His own character is so worthy of our love, both as a reflection back to Him, and outwardly to others. We can emulate God’s love by putting the needs of others before our own. This may take the form of happily to serving in the background, and finding joy in serving without the fanfare of recognition. Perhaps we can love by being hospitable without grumbling and by sharing our material possessions with those in need (1 John 3:17).
Let us reflect the excellency of God’s character by supporting those who are weak or young in their faith and by being peacemakers. Let us forgive freely. Let us claim, and be excellent in the greatest quality of all, as it is illustrated in 1 Corinthians 13: Love.
Imagine how pleasing it is to our Creator when we express our love for Him by reflecting His love for us in all our actions!