"We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us." 1 John 4:16-19
I love the writings of John. These verses are from one of the three letters that were written after the gospel of John, and before He wrote Revelation on the Island of Patmos. You really need to study these letters one at a time, and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal all the Lord has to say to you personally. Hopefully this devotional will give you a hunger for more than I can provide. I hope my devotionals are like an appetizer that makes you hunger for more of the Bread of Life.
Looking at verse 16 we know the disciples truly had come to believe in the same love God has for each one of us. God Himself defined what real agape love is. Agape is a Greek word for the highest love in existence which comes only from the One who is love. He revealed to us His love is sacrificial as He sacrificed His perfect Son on our behalf in order to reconcile us to Himself that we might live forever with Him in heaven.
John speaking for all the disciples in the introduction in chapter one reveals that they had heard, and seen with their eyes, and touched with their hands referring to Jesus. This was written after the crucifixion and resurrection. It was also after Paul and Peter were martyred. He is testifying and willing to die for what they know, that Jesus manifested the love of the Father and purchased for us eternal life.
He often uses the word "abide" in these letters as well as in the gospel he wrote. Read John 15. It is a life-changing chapter if you study and meditate on the message. Abide means to dwell or remain. If we abide in love we abide in God which means we are abiding in agape love. By this he tells us love was perfected in them. The same is true for us. If we are abiding in Love, life will spill out of your spirit to others. When we abide in Him our needs are met. Our cup is full, so we look to other people’s needs, rather than always focusing on ourselves. While living this out, God’s children shall obtain a confidence knowing we will all stand before Him in judgement one day soon.
We are told there is no fear in His love. Why should there be? He is God. He is in control. If we know the God who is love is in control, why would any child of His fear anything in this life including death? It clearly states the one who is full of fear is not abiding in His love, because perfect love casts out fear. Satan loves to use fear to cause us to shrink back from others to protect ourselves from past toxic relationships. They come in all forms, during childhood, the teenage years, marriage, friendships, and parenting. Most of us have deep wounds from failed relationships from some form or another. Without experiencing God’s love we are hopeless and helpless in our pain. We are filled with fear of more pain, and we imprison ourselves unable to give love or to receive love. We protect ourselves, unable to love anyone more than ourselves.
The answer is found in verse 19. We love because He first loved us. If you think the answer is in this world’s definition of love you are taking the bait of satan. We must allow God to define love for us, not fairy tales and Hallmark movies. We must experience love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace from the One who is Love. We have to be taught that sacrifice is love. We must not merely look after our own interest but also the interest of others. That does not come naturally for us. We must keep ourselves abiding in His love in order to forgive as we have been forgiven. John tells us apart from Him we can do nothing. I know this is true in my life.
We have to know and receive love from Him before He can reveal to us what real, lasting love is. It is always a choice and a strong commitment to love God, so we might love others and be loved. These truths in John have the answers we are all looking for.
It is not what has been projected to us from this world, but rather success and prosperity. Education is a good thing if it is true education and not indoctrination, but it isn’t going to fulfill your deepest need which is to love and be loved. lt is what you were created for. Firstly, to know the Father’s love. Our children should be taught that above all else! Sports are not going to meet the need for love only God can fulfill. And then teach them to reach out to others with that same love.
We as humans cannot improve upon the plan of God Himself. May I remind you of what Jesus defined as the greatest commandments found in Matthew 22:36-40:
Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"
And He said to him,
" You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment.
The second is like it,
you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."
May these commandments become our focus that we might minister to God first and foremost, and then to each other.
In His love.
Ran the incredible 5 Mile River Bend Race in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia this morning! Some races doesn’t require an ultra distance to fill your cup, and this is one of them!