I remember my first love. She was beautiful. Everything a man could ever ask for. I even told my mother I was going to marry her one-day. But there was only one problem… she was a stuffed animal named Mrs. Monkey. While four-year-old Taylor might have fallen in “love” with his stuffed animal friend, love is a word that has a lot more meaning than what you feel for an inanimate object.
John’s words for us today are crystal clear. God is love. Have you ever thought about what love is? Likely whatever definition you are thinking of is based on the idea of conditional love. All of us have experienced conditional love at least in one form or another. This being the notion that in order to gain, or retain, someone’s love you must perform or act a certain way. Whereas, the love of God is the exact opposite, it is unconditional. God’s love is like no love a human could ever give you. There is nothing you can do to make God stop loving you. Think about that for a moment. There is NOTHING that can separate you from the love of God. Even in your worst moment, on your darkest day, God’s love for you was and is the same.
While nothing can separate you from the love of God, sin can separate us from an eternity with Him. Notice John’s words in verse 16- “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” We know what true love is, because of who God is! Any context, definition, or concept we have ever had, or will ever have of what love actually is, is the result of knowing God.
In today’s text, John provides some pretty challenging words for us. When we experience Christ’s love, we have an expectation to love others. If Christ has changed your heart, you are not going to be able to hold back wanting to spread this love to the world. John calls us to live a life of sacrifice, of selflessness, of outright generosity to others. He calls us to be the earthly manifestation of Christ’s love today as best as we know how.
Spend some time today praying about how you can express the love of Christ to someone today. Not tomorrow. Today. Is it an act of sacrifice you can show someone? Maybe you need to deny yourself, and make a selfless decision so somebody else might benefit? Or who can you bless with a generous gift today?