Read 1 John 4:1-21
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (v. 7).
If you are a cat lover, let me say in advance, “I’m sorry.” Under the teacher’s tutelage, we dissected a cat in my high school biology class. While some of you reel in disbelief and want to report me to PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), let me repeat again, “I’m sorry.” This was back in the 70’s. It was what the Biology 2 class did every year. Anyway . . . through this process, we came to understand the different systems that made it possible for the cat to function.
First John 4 allows us to do somewhat of the same thing today. Today’s assignment, though, is to dissect love. This chapter allows us to examine the anatomy of our love for others. Thankfully, we can do it without putting animals at risk and without the smell of formaldehyde! Here we go . . .
Love’s origin– Don’t miss the fact that love is from God (v. 7). In fact, not only does it start with Him (v. 19), but He is by nature love (v. 16). We dare not focus solely on that attribute or characteristic and exclude others. like His justice or His holiness. Nevertheless, God is love. He is the initiator of love. He was the one to first love us. Love starts with God.
Love’s demonstration– Love was more than a strong emotion God felt toward us. His love oozed out into expression. He “sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sin” (v. 10). God’s love was so great that He addressed the largest need that mankind has- sin. He lovingly sent His Son into the world as a sacrifice that would serve as our substitute.
Love’s motivation– Once we have begun to grasp some of the smallest dimensions of the incomprehensible love of God, we discover that we too are moved and empowered to love others (vv. 7, 11). When we align ourselves with His love, we discover that we become a conduit through which His love flows to others. In fact, our love for others should be such a natural byproduct of a genuine relationship to Him that a lack of love should cause us to question the reality of our relationship with Him (v. 8).
Is His love flowing through you?