Saturday, September 10, 2016

We love because He first loved us.

This Bible verse has come to my attention three times in a 24-hour period this week. Each time from a different source. After the third time seeing this verse I sat at attention. Is there some reason you want me to pay close attention to this verse, Lord?

We love because he first loved us. 
1 John 4:19

I thought about it for a bit and then forged ahead with my day. The clock was ticking and I had to keep moving. For the most part I pushed those early morning thoughts aside, but it was still there in the back of my mind.

As the day moved on, challenges came to the forefront. The challenges included individuals testing my patience, deadlines, and unexpected traffic delays. On the flip side were sweet times with thoughtful an supportive friends, laughter and silliness, and a simple, sweet text from my boyfriend letting me know he was thinking of me.

It's easy to be loving with the latter scenario. It's not so easy to be loving with the former scenario. Now that I've had time to think about these verses popping up everywhere, perhaps it was a reminder that I cannot be loving without Christ's love inside me. God is love and Christ is the product of that love. Without Christ in my life it's a constant struggle to love and to respond in a loving manner during difficult times. Oh, I'm not always successful in my responses. Sometimes I respond in unloving ways. It happens. [shrug]

I haven't been writing on this blog as regularly as I used to. This morning I saw a message on Facebook that reminded me that I have a story to tell. All of us do and we should share it in whatever platform given to us. My platform happens to be this blog which I started over four years ago during a time of struggle and testing. Blogging helped me and encouraged others while carrying out the message Paul taught in 2 Corinthians chapter 1.

I remember about the time I first began blogging here, God showed me that I cannot truly love a man without first understanding His love for me. It was a profound moment for me to learn that tidbit of truth. Since that time God has been teaching me how much He loves me. Earlier this year, several months after meeting my boyfriend, I had an epiphany. As much as my boyfriend loved me--and that's a whole lot--God loved me even more. Wow! My eyes filled with tears as I realized the magnitude of what that looked like. I had a human demonstration of unconditional love and finally understood how much God's love transcends all of that.

Over my lifetime I have had many demonstrations of love to show me this connection, but I didn't really get it until now. Better late, than never. God used this man in my life to teach me and to bless me. I am so very grateful. 

I was reading a devotional yesterday about the disciple John. It said that as John grew older, his writing become more and more focused on one subject: LOVE. The legend says that one of John's younger followers asked him why he focused so much on this topic and John's response was, "Because there isn't anything else." 

Love is the answer. We get so hung up on who's right and who's wrong, what she did and what he didn't do, and so on. Jesus calls us to keep loving--even when it's hard!

I'll sign off with John's words from 1 John 4: 11-21.

11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 
12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another,
God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 
 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
  15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  
17  This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence
 on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. 
But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us.20 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. 
21 And he has given us this command: 
Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

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