Loving God by loving others
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 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. We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:16-19
When babies are born, they do much more receiving of love than giving. They do not act out their love for their moms and dads. They sleep and cry, eat and dirty their diapers. Moms and dads, on the other hand, spend almost all their time working out their love for their babies in very practical ways. At some point during adulthood, the child’s and the parents’ love begins to balance. By the time the parents are retirees and their health recedes, the children are doing most of the loving deeds while the parents are receiving. From where has the children’s love come? Doesn’t it mirror the love they have seen their parents show them? In the same way, Christians who have experienced the love of Christ responds by loving God by loving others. God is love and that the person who lives in love lives in God and God in him. This is the test of true Christianity in the letters of John. We must recognize the basic character of God, rooted in love. That’s why God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life’ (John 3:16). Basic to John’s reasoning that love is essential among Christians is that love’s origin is God. God first loved us and He initiated the move so that having a right relationship with Him was made possible. God has demonstrated His love by sending Jesus (see 1 John 4:9, 10). It is difficult to prove whether or not we love God based on our actions toward Him because we cannot see Him. If we have the right relationship with God, the fact that He is love means that we live “in love.” This is true not only in the sense that we love God and God loves us, but also in the sense that our love carries over into our relationships with others. That’s the way our relationship with God should affect us. Love for God is reflected in love for His children, our brothers and sisters, whom we can see.