Scripture: 1 John 4:7-21
Observation: John explains the source of our love – it comes from God, and when we love others, it’s an outward expression of the love he’s already given to us.
Application: If I had to sum up John’s words in these verses, the summary would be simple: God loves us. And although that summary is simple, the truth behind what it really means to be loved by God is anything but simple.
I’ve heard that God loves me hundreds and hundreds of times. Maybe you have, too. (And if you haven’t, rest assured: God loves you, I promise. Keep reading.) While I’d rather not admit it, I take this truth for granted. I rarely ever stop to pause and consider what it truly means to be loved by God.
You are loved by God.
If God were to explain his deep love for you, here’s what I think he’d say:
“Dear (insert your name here),
I want you to know how much I love you. You are truly, deeply, unconditionally loved.
Depending on your background, it may be hard to receive that or understand that or even believe that truth. But, I’m begging you – push aside everything you’ve experienced as the result of ‘love’ – all the hurt and heartache – and know that I actually am capable of loving you without hurting you. I’m capable of loving you truly, deeply, unconditionally.
Here’s how you can know how much I love you: I sent my only son to earth to die for you and save you from your sins. For many of you who grew up in church, you’ve heard this message over and over: Christ died for your sins. I know you know that. But today, I want you to pause and really think about that sacrifice for a moment.
Think about sending your child – your only, beloved child – to a world full of hurt and evil and persecution and knowing that he was going to die. You knew you would see him in extreme physical pain, and you would hear him cry out, “Daddy, Daddy, why have you forsaken me?” And you would allow him to die anyways. You’d allow him to die so that others could be saved, their sin washed away as white as snow. It would be heart-wrenchingly difficult, but you would do it.
Child, that’s what I did…for you. I did it for you. So that you could have hope bigger than yourself, so that your sins could be forgiven, so that you and I could have a real relationship. That’s how much I love you. That is real love.
Put your trust in my love. Know that it will always be true, deep, unconditional. And because I love you so deeply, I ask that you love others. When you recognize the sacrifice of my son Jesus and put your faith in him, I live in you. It sounds weird, I know. But, haven’t you ever wished someone would help you live your life in moments when you need some guidance? Help you make decisions, fill you with patience when you’re fresh out, show you the right path to take when life feels confusing? That’s me. That’s what I’m here for. I live in you and through me, you can be secure, your identity firm, your worth undeniable.
All that fear you have? Give it over to me. My perfect love – which is freely given to you – is bigger than your biggest fear. It means I won’t leave you and I won’t let your circumstances overcome you, defeat you, or destroy you.
I love you.
So go and love others – because even when they’re irritating, hurtful, or frustrating, they’re my kids, too. And I love them just as I love you. So play nicely – not because you’re good but because I am, and I live in you, giving you all the power you need to love well.
I love you. And nothing will ever change that.
When you mess up, when you fail, when you have a set back, when you screw up a relationship, when you say the wrong thing, when you just can’t seem to pull it together – I’m still here. And I still love you.
Prayer: God, thank you for your love, a love that’s far greater and better than I could ever truly understand. I praise you for your faithfulness, even when I’m unfaithful. Thank you for who you are, for showing me what real love really looks like. Amen.
- What’s holding you back from truly accepting the real love of God?
- Who do you need to learn to love well? Ask God to give you the patience, kindness, and grace to love that person well.
- Thank God for loving you truly, deeply, and unconditionally. Spend time praising him for the gift of his love.