WEEK 8: Loving one another
1 John 4:10 “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (Amp.)
I love running. I make a point of going for a run at least three times a week. The best part of a run is when I reach that point of perfect rhythm. I usually reach that point at about four kilometres into the run, it’s then that I feel like I can run forever…
Have you thought about God’s love? Has the thought ever crossed your mind that God is able to love perfectly, forever…? Yes, God’s love is in perfect rhythm. I doubt whether my love will ever be “perfected”. The good news is that it doesn’t need to be, because God’s love for you and me, in Jesus Christ, is perfect. Indeed, perfect love came to us first, because God loved us first. For every iniquity in our attempts to love, there is a perfect atonement in Jesus Christ. Don’t you find this fact redeeming?!
In verse 11, we are encouraged to love each other, because “God loved us so [very much]”. I find this so significant – even though God knows that your love and my love is imperfect, He still instructs us to love each other! God is willing to take that risk in allowing us to try to love each other, because He has perfect trust in His Love, perfected in Jesus Christ as atonement for our imperfection. God knows that He gave the ultimate propitiation for our often ‘sinful’ attempts to love.
Pause for a moment. How does that last thought make you feel? It makes me feel quite insignificant, and my efforts to love even more so. Yet, listen to the promise in verse 12: “…if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us!” Wow! This promise is so powerful! God trusts us to take the first step in loving others, even though we might be a bit stiff and out of rhythm at first. Still, through our loving each other, His love reaches maturity and runs the full course, is perfected!
Verse 13 introduces a reciprocity into this promise. God not only abides in us. We can also abide (live and remain) in Him, “…because He has given (imparted) to us of His [Holy] Spirit.” It is His Spirit in us that brings His love to maturity, to perfect rhythm, to completion! Yes, God is embodied in our decision to, our attempts to, our endurance in, loving each other. Let that realisation sink in for a moment…GOD LIVES AMONG US WHEN WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER!