God is Love! Part 1. As for everyone else, welcome back, as you know we'll be continuing in 1 John 3 today; however, I would also like to cover the scripture found in the second half of chapter 4 as well.
So everyone please feel free to brew a cup of coffee, grab your Bible while you're waiting, then pull up a comfortable chair; I feel like God has something important to speak to your heart today!
Loving One Another: Chapter 3
John opens up verse 11 by reminding us that we've been taught to love one another since the beginning and that we should not be like Cain. I'm assuming you've all heard the story of Cain and Abel, but if not I'll give you a brief overview. These two men were both the children of Adam and Eve, I know you've heard of them, and both would offer up sacrifices to God from what they owned. Abel would always bring the first and best of everything he acquired and owned to the Lord, while Cain would bring whatever he saw fit or felt like giving; God accepted Abel's offering but not Cain's. Cain became angry by this and murdered his brother Abel, God marked him as a cursed man and sent him to live away from his family.
Can you find the teaching behind this story which can be applied to the world we live in today? To save you a little bit of time I'll help you out, those who live good moral lives often end up exposing and shaming those who don't. With this knowledge in mind, and as John points out in verse 13, if we live for God, the world will most likely come to hate us; this is because we make them aware of the way they live their lives, which is immorally.
As Christians, we're called to live a life of love, for Christianity is a religion of the heart is it not? Jesus taught that whoever hates someone is a murderer at heart, which can be found in Matthew 5:21-22. Therefore, it's safe to say that if you hate someone and have a murderous heart, then you're not living a life of love as you should be. Well how do I live a life of love you might ask, give me an example of living a life based purely on love. You need look no further than Jesus Christ, we know exactly what love is because he gave up his life for each of us; in this same manner, we should also give up our lives for other Christians.
Hold up, back that up a second, you want me to give up my life for someone else? You're crazy man, do you really think I'm gonna die for someone I don't know? While it is necessary to give up your life for someone else, this doesn't mean that you must die for them; giving up your life for someone comes in the form of putting their desires before yours and serving them. Ever heard the saying that actions speak louder than words? Well, as Christians we need to stop simply saying that we love one another and allow our actions to speak for us; it's by our actions that we know we're living a life modeled after Jesus, who spent his entire life serving others.
Sometimes we might feel like we do not love others as much as we should, like we're not doing Jesus Christ justice. Don't ignore these feelings, instead, set your heart on God's love; he knows our motives and actions, God is greater than our conscience. If we come to God with a clear conscience, we can be confident that our requests will be heard and answered, because by obeying him we're in line with his will. Now this doesn't mean that we can just come to him and ask for things like a million dollars, this is purely selfish and not in line with God; but if we ask for things we need, you can have faith he will provide.
God commands that we believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love others. Believing in the name means to model your life after Jesus; if we do this, we will also love others. Those who obey God's commands are in fellowship with him and we know he lives in us, because his Holy Spirit lives in us.
Love One Another: Chapter 4
Again John asks of us to continue loving one another, because love comes from God; for those who do not love, don't know God, because God is love! The world in which we live today has taken those three words and flipped them around to this, "Love is God". This is completely wrong and the rest of the world is alright with it, they believe that love is what makes people feel good and that it's fine to sacrifice our good morals to obtain it, but this is nothing but selfishness. Remember this, real love is like God, because God is love, this type of love is holy, just, and perfect.
God showed us just how much that he loved us when he sent his one and only Son, Jesus, down to our world to die for us and provide us with a path to eternal life. This my friends is true love, because it's not that we loved God so much that he sent his Son to die, but that he loved us so much he allowed his Son to perish. Now tell me this, if he loved us that much to allow such things to happen, is it really too much to ask for us to love one another? In fact, once we come to this understanding and realize the profound love he has for us, we'll want to love others even more!
There are those who love to be around other people, crowds of people even, and love to talk with all of them and spend time with everyone. There are also people who kind of keep to themselves, don't talk too much, and are very shy; I won't lie to you or sugar coat it at all, this perfectly describes me and it's one of the reasons I'm using a blog to reach out to others, because I speak better through words than actual speech. But John isn't telling us how many people that we need to love, he's trying to explain to us how much we should love them. For no matter how shy we really are, we don't need to be afraid of the commandment to love others; God will provide us with the strength to do all that he asks of us.
No one has ever seen God with their own eyes, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love will be brought to full expression through us. Here's something which all Christians should try to commit to memory: "God is love, those who live in love live in God, as we live in God our love grows more perfect, and perfect love expels all fear". In this sense, I believe that it's safe to say that we are only able to love others as a result of God's love for us.
I want to leave you with one final remark to think on for the rest of the day, "If we truly love God, we will love others; but if we don't love others, we don't truly love God".
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