1 John 4:7-12
Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us.
This Scripture from 1 John describes the close relationship between God’s love and the love we are to show each other. God loved us so much that he sacrificed his Son for us. This sacrificial love serves as a model for us to follow, and in fact God dwells within us and the actual love of God is reflected through our love of each other.
My family and I were humbled to receive a tremendous outpouring of love from others six years ago when my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor. We received meals, cards, change for hospital vending machines, stuffed animals for my daughter, help with child care for my other children, and of course countless prayers and encouragement. She is now a beautiful vibrant twelve year old, but those days of uncertainty about her future and watching her suffer through surgeries and radiation treatments were the darkest days of my life. As frightening and bleak as those days sometimes were, however, I could always find comfort and hope in the absolute certainty of God’s love and presence as it was powerfully manifested through these loving actions of others.
When the Body of Christ gathers around one another, pouring out the love of Jesus into each other’s lives, then the incarnational presence of God is active and alive in the world. It is in this atmosphere of soaking love that congregational excellence honors the Christ that we love and serve.
Gracious and loving Father, help us to love each other as you first loved us through the sacrifice of your Son Jesus Christ. The needs are many in this broken world, but your love shines like a beacon of hope in the darkness. Direct our steps in all we do to reflect your mighty unstoppable love to a lost and hurting world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Team Member, Tennessee Conference