The world sees love as a flowery feeling. The world’s love is selfish. It is wrapped up in how I feel and my hopes and desires. Worldly love changes, it ebbs and flows and is affected by conditions. In the world passionate love can easily become passionate hate if circumstances are right.
God’s Love is not some sappy happy feeling. It is substantial, steadfast and always bears itself out intentionally. We are commanded time and again to love one another. We are told that through that love the world will recognize us as Jesus’ followers and God will be glorified. It is by loving one another that people will come to the kingdom of God. This kind of love comes from God and is only possible through God.
Verses 7-12 read,
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”
God showed us how to love. He not only gave up His only Son for us, He then continued to demonstrate love by His perfect life lived entirely for us. He laid down His life as propitiation for our sins. Propitiation is a way of making peace, appeasing or compensating for us. He paid the price we couldn’t pay. He did all that so we could be His children and friends. That love is real, it is tangible. Love isn’t love unless it is demonstrated. That is how we are to love one another. If we love like that then God is within us, He is glorified through our expression of love.
God is not glorified when you cry over pictures of children with cancer. God is glorified when give up your day to serve them and their families. God is not revealed when you pity the hungry. He is revealed when you feed them even through your own needs. Love is manifested in actions, truth, and sacrifice. He is made known through proving and representing Jesus as Christ, our Savior. He is shown by the Spirit He gave us, God Himself abiding in us and flowing out of us in tangible ways, such as kindness, joy, peace, and patience. Verses 13-16 read,
“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because 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 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
If we really love, the way God loves, the way He has told us to love then we will attest that Jesus is Christ. We will prove it by our words, actions, and lives. The Spirit of truth who is in us proclaims Jesus Christ. (Verse 2). It is by that testimony that we know God lives and rests in us. It is how the world sees God, and because someone else lived and loved that way, it is how we came to know Jesus.
Believer, God loves people through you. God manifests Himself through you. It is His power, His strength, and His righteousness that is proven through you. Because you are able to proclaim Jesus Christ, you know God is in you. You have nothing to fear. There is no guilty verdict for you in Christ. You are free to love, free to live fearlessly for Christ. You can love that way, because God loved you that way first by sending His beloved Son to us, by living and dying and resurrecting for you. If you love God, you do so not by empty words but by genuine substantial solid actions. Verses 17-21 read,
“By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Ask yourself, does your brother know you love him? Have you proclaimed Jesus Christ to him? Has he seen God demonstrated in your life? You have not seen God, but you have experienced His love. Has the world around you experienced God’s love from you?