7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
If you have ever served in the church nursery a requirement is to love the children, and the first lesson to be shared is “God is love.” A child learns about God’s love through other believers’ caring actions and kind words. It is so simple yet so complex. It is the beginning of knowing God. The Apostle John often calls those he is writing to “my little children” (thirteen times in 1 John). Perhaps this is to recognize that we are all God’s children and we are all growing up in faith and maturity. John teaches how his beloved can recognize God’s love among all the other loves around them. He tells them how they know who has God’s love and who doesn’t.
John says, “let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” True love has its origin and essence in God. It is what God is. We have to look at God’s character to know love, just like we have to know what a real dollar bill looks like to know a counterfeit one. He is love because the members of the Triune Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) first loved one another. Love requires a relationship, and an object of its affection. We were created to be loved and to make the choice to love. Love is given not because of the worth or desirability of the object. God’s love is not taken advantage of, nor does it give permission to sin. Love for us caused the Godhead to send to earth Jesus, who is True Love, to show us true love in actions, give us true love in words, and transform us by true love in our hearts. God is eternal, so is his love, and through Jesus we have life eternal.
God is love. Sounds easy, but it’s profound. How would you define love? Even though I grew up in a church nursery, Sunday School, and gave my life to Jesus at summer camp, I had to wrestle with understanding and knowing personally the definition of love as a college freshman. It has shaped my life, guides my actions and words, and helps me know his way. My definition of God’s love often comes back to me as I seek to reflect God’s character and be an ambassador of his love. There are many wonderful Christ followers in my life journey that have shown me and told me about God’s love, and those who keep showing me and telling me. God’s love never ends, so we’ll never stop learning about it. Today, read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Write your own definition of love and check to see if your life reflects the Father’s character of love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
By Donna Burns