Scripture: 1 John 2:1-14
Observation: John continues to make it clear that as believers, we must despise sin and follow all of God’s commands. He says his purpose in writing is to remind them of the commandment to love one another.
Application: On the deepest level, we all want to belong to something, a group of people we can identify with (and often even find identity in). We’ll use outward symbols – a jacket, a bumper sticker, an uniform – to show the world where we belong. As Christians, we have a symbol, too. It’s not a WWDJ bracelet (mostly because it’s not the 90s anymore) or a cross necklace – our symbol is love.
John’s entire first letter is about love – how much our Father in heaven loves us, how he is pleased when we chose to love others.
Love heals all things.
When we love, relationships are restored – even the broken ones, the shame-filled ones, the estranged ones, the frustrating ones.
When we love, all bitterness, anger, and rage is dispelled, replaced with the gift of forgiveness, forgiveness that frees and unifies.
When we love, “…the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.” (verse 8)
As humans, no matter what our faith background, we sense the power of this love thing. In fact, our world is obsessed with shouting “love wins” and touting the power to “coexist” – yet this same world is still so violent and chaotic and broken. Why?
It’s because we convince ourselves that we, as humans, can manufacture more love out of the goodness of our own hearts. We believe that if we somehow dig deep enough we’ll produce more peace and unity and love. As if we’re somehow smarter, better, more equipped to love than we’ve been in the last thousands of years.
Our mistake is that we rely on ourselves to love – and then get discouraged when that same love hurts us, frustrates us, breaks us.
We’ve got it all twisted.
We love because He loved us first.
As followers of Jesus, our love does win – because we’re not trying to produce it on our own. Our love isn’t manmade by our own efforts. It isn’t produced or manufactured or poured into others because we’re “good enough.” Our love is a fruit of the Spirit, an overflow of the Father’s perfect love for us.
Manmade love doesn’t heal, and it certainly doesn’t win.
But, the perfect, freeing, binding love of our Father always wins.
Let’s let love win today. Here’s how: lean into the love of your Father, the one who chose you (yes, you!) as his own. When you feel rejected or imperfect or flawed, lean into his love – he will never leave you or forsake you. Let his love heal you. And then pour that same love out onto others -- to the neighbor you can’t stand, the sister you haven’t spoken to in six months, the spouse you’ve shut off, the one you’ve rejected for rejecting you – chose love instead.
Love because he loved you.
That kind of love will change the world, one Jesus follower at a time.
Prayer: God, thank you for choosing to love me, for adopting me as your own. I pray I will love others the way you love me – selflessly and freely. God, give me patience; let me be a light to those around me, living out of a generous overflow of your love for me. Amen.
- Is there someone in your life you find difficult to love? How can you submit those frustrations to God and love that person well this week?
- What misconceptions do you have about loving others? How have John's words about the true source of love challenged you?
- Are you living your life as Jesus lived his? (verse 6) What parts of your life do you need to submit to Jesus to live more like him?