God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son
into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him.
This is real love — not that we loved God, but that He loved us
and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us,
and His love is brought to full expression in us.
1 John 4:9-12
Based on how much I say it, “love” must be one of my favorite words.
It punctuates every phone conversation I have with my children and it’s how I tell my husband good-night. It’s what I say when I want your shoes, see a puppy in the window, order dessert. It’s what I tell my hair dresser when she’s touched up my hair, the way I describe living in Germany, and how I’ll review a very good book.
I Love…! expresses my affections for something that matters to me, a little phrase that can mean a thousand things.
Never, however, is love more dynamic, strong, expressive or beautiful than when we hear it spoken by God.
God didn’t merely feel love for His children, He demonstrated love by His actions.
He gave His Son.
He sacrificed Himself.
He bled my redemption.
He poured out forgiveness.
He taught me how to love by example.
He empowered me to love others.
And generously, lavishly, unconditionally, God loved me first and acted on it.
Love does things but it also is (or is not) many things. The oh-so-familiar passage in 1 Corinthians 13 tells us love is–
Patient and kind.
Not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
It doesn’t demand its own way.
It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Never gives up, never loses faith
always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Yes, we know these things, we’ve heard them all so many times before! But, friends, how about we practice what we preach and what we profess?
Can you imagine the change in the world if we loved like Jesus?
Not just lip service, really loved like Jesus?
What if we actually loved our enemies?
What if we loved the difficult people in our lives?
What if we considered anyone outside our door, our neighbor, and loved them consistent with how we love ourselves?
What if we begin with just one person?
With real love from me to you, because He first loved me,
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