We love because he first loved us

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

1 John 4:19-21

This just about sums it all up, don’t you think?  God so loves us that He went to extreme measures in showing it, sending His Son to die for us… because so great was God’s love. (John 3:16)

If God loves us, and we in turn love God, then we must also love our brother or sister.  As you can see from these verses, there is no negotiating to be done.  In fact, John says that it is a command from God that we love our brother.  End of discussion!memorial-023

Well… almost.  It may strike some as odd that God has commanded love.  It is really a fair question to ask if someone asked it… How can I be commanded to love?  I see my brother or sister, and I don’t feel anything for them. As I’ve written before words are funny things; they mean stuff.  In English, we only have one word: “Love.”  John wrote in Greek.  Greek has five words for our “love” and they mean different things.  The word that John used here is agapaō which is the word used in the New Testament for God’s love.  It is not the word for romantic love. When we are commanded to love one another, this command has nothing whatsoever to do with emotions.  Instead, it has everything do with attitude.

To love your brother or sister in Christ means to put their interests ahead of your own. If your brother or sister is in need, we are to take care of their need before we take care of our need.  We are to be willing to set aside our cares and hurts to see to the needs of others… just like Jesus did.  If we see our brother or sister hurting, we do something about it. Jesus saw us hurting from sin and death, so He did something about it, setting aside His own personal needs… that is unless you’d claim that He really needed to be tortured and murdered, or that it was His idea of fun…

This is the attitude that make the Body of Christ possible.  If we were to approach the Body (church) as our little plaything, or as our chance to be important, or in the way humans often approach things, then the Body will fight and divide.  Hmmmmm, we might think about that one! If we approach it as people who love one another and put others ahead of ourselves, the Body is the most amazing and awesome thing this side of Heaven, as they say.

So, can we do it?  Sure we can!  We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  It begins with a commitment to follow Jesus, and it carries on when we are more satisfied in His presence than when we are any place else. Need help or guidance in this?  No problem, seek Him, and follow where He leads.  You’ll know what to do.


About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
This entry was posted in Christian Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to We love because he first loved us

  1. dyfedwyn says:

    I’m reminded of the old saying that ‘love is a verb’.

  2. paulfg says:

    The word “sacred” keeps coming back in me with this “love stuff”. A personal word. Everytime I think it for others and myself – out and about – in contact with “people” – it makes this love stuff so much easier. You are. She is. He is. What they say is. What they do is. How they respond is. And I am sacred also. To be treated as sacred. As sacred as is treating others as sacred. As the lord is sacred. Man that word has real power in my life and living. Just a thought! 🙂

  3. abundantlife says:

    We were just talking about God’s amazing love at my church home group yesterday. I don’t fully comprehend the magnitude of His love, but I get revelations of His love. “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God;” 1 John 3:1a

  4. Elaine says:

    Great post on love that is so important. We so easily overuse that word love and assume only one meaning as you suggest, when it does mean so much more than just romantic love . I like that you mention my life verse in your last paragraph..Philippians 4:13. So very true!

  5. Pingback: We love because he first loved us | A disciple's study

  6. a_l_henley says:

    Reblogged this on Intrepid Didymus.

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