I’ve been reading @stickyJesus: how to live out your faith online, a book by Tami Heim and Toni Birdsong. Last night I was reading in chapter six about who God is. I know who God is, but I decided to make each of the topics a subject to read in my quiet time. Today I read “God is love”. The verse I was directed to was 1 John 4:8:
8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
I was struck by verses 7 and 8:
7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
The apostle John writes here that regardless of who you think you are, if you love, you ARE a child of God and KNOW GOD! Now, my atheist friends would probably argue that this statement is impossible, but they don’t have a leg to stand on. Because in verse 8, it says very clearly that God is love and to love, you MUST know God. Pretty cool, huh? This puts them in an interesting position.
Then, my attention was really drawn to verse 17a:
17a And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.
This really gives me something to strive for. If I’m growing in my relationship with God, then my love should be growing more and more perfect. The way I treat others should be more loving and more perfect, i.e. less judgmental, less critical. And if my love is growing more perfect, then here’s what I have to look forward to:
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.
I don’t love others for any reward, as I’ve seen atheists say we Christians do. I do it because I can’t be any other way. I want to love others. I want to help others. I don’t want to judge or be critical. Loving God is making me strive to be the hands, feet, eyes, and heart of Jesus. Because He loves me, I want to be more like him.
Then we need to remember these words from the end of the chapter:
20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.
This brings us to the Great Commandment that Jesus gave us in Matthew 22:36-40 what says,
36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Those 10 Commandments boil down to just two things. We must love God and we must love others. Both of those commands are of equal importance and in doing both, we are God’s children, we know Him, and we are being the hands, feet, eyes, and heart of Jesus.