For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life—John 3:16.
Love gives. It gives intentionally and indiscriminately. Love gives. It gives individually and internationally. Love gives. It gives bountifully and without bias. Love gives because generosity is its nature. A soldier who gives for love of country, or a mother who gives for love of her child, reveals their character. A husband who loves his wife gives her emotional attention. A wife who loves her husband gives him physical affection. Love gives as a matter of course. It’s natural.
God’s love is the gold standard. His banner of love is raised high above the most hideous criminal to the most innocent child. God gave the ultimate gift of His son Jesus, because He loved all of us; each one of us. Just as rays of sunlight warm all of us and each of us, so the love of the Lord is for the world, and each one. We are individually loved by Jesus. Since God is love, His love is effortless. His loving offer of forgiveness comes to us by belief in Jesus.
“Who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
How can we intentionally love the Lord, people, and ourselves? Love begins by being loved by the One who is love. Once we receive Christ into our life by faith, His very nature of love resides within us. The deeper we fall in love with the Lover of our souls, the greater our capacity to love. His love gives us peace, so we are able to offer calm in the middle of conflict. His love gives us patience, so we are able to extend a compassionate ear to a fearful foe. His love gives us forgiveness, so we are able to offer total forgiveness to a friend or family member. Love gives.
Lastly, how can we love ourselves by giving to ourselves? We love when we give ourselves the gift of margin. Margin is time for prayer, exercise, thinking, reading, hobbies and being creative. We can love ourselves by having more or less time with people. Nonetheless, we love ourselves, so we are better prepared to love God and others. An unloved self is a loveless self. Not narcissism of course, but a healthy love of self, like Jesus loves us. Our soul care, emotional fitness, mental refreshment, spiritual nurture and physical rest all contribute to a loving life. Love gives. So, receive God’s love in Christ and from an overflowing heart of love--love generously.
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself’”—(Matthew 22:37-39).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, by faith I receive Your love into my life in Christ, so I am able to love like Jesus loves.
Related Readings: Genesis 22:12; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 5:8, 8:32; Ephesians 2:4; 1 John 4:9