True Love

Read Through the Bible in 2 Years: 1 John 3:1 – 5:20

I love reading 1 John just after reading the book of John. I can imagine “the disciple whom Jesus loved” writing this letter – a letter focused on the inseparable themes of truth and love, a letter that is not addressed to any specific person or church and that John did not personally sign his name to. Sounds like John, right? For more on this read my post about John 21.

Did you notice that I reread 1 John 3? I have found that it’s easy for me to forget the context of what is written, so it’s helpful to read the previous chapter, so I can better understand what’s being said. Do you ever do that, too?

John wanted his readers to BELIEVE in Jesus, the Christ, the One who took on flesh and conquered death for us – the ones whom He loved.

John wanted his readers to have CONFIDENCE in God’s love toward us, His children, so that we would be unafraid for that kind of perfect love casts out all fear.

Thank about what you just read in the book of John. Think about all that John had experienced first hand. John had seen Jesus walk on water with his own eyes. John had been an eyewitness to Jesus healing the sick and feeding the 5,000 with a few fish and loaves of bread.

John had heard Jesus teach with his own ears. John heard Jesus teach on the importance of forgiveness and mercy and John had heard Jesus condemn the fake faith of the Pharisees. And John had heard Jesus say, “A new commandment I give to you that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:35)

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 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. 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. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." - 1 John 4:7-11 ESV

Remember that John is a man with a nature like ours. He isn’t the God-man Jesus Christ. Yes, John had been given a special calling as an apostle. Yes, he had the unique gift of being inspired to write the scriptures. But John battled his flesh just like we do. Think about how hard it must have been for John to love impetuous Peter and former tax collector Matthew.

True love is sacrifice. True love is best expressed in loving the hard-to-love. So next time you’re struggling to love that irritating person at church or that aggravating coworker or disobedient child, remember the truth that God loved us while we were his enemies. This is love.

Let’s pray together,

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your love. Thank You for sending Your only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to live here on earth and to die in my place.

I pray that I will have complete confidence in Your love for me. You have made Your love evident, visible, manifest in sending Your own Son. Help me to love others with the love that You first showed to me.

In the Name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

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