We Love Because God Loves Us
“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NIV).
One reason God wants us to love is because he is love, and he created us to be like him—to love. The only reason we’re able to love is because God loves us: “Love comes from God . . . because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8 NIV).
We were created in God’s image to do two things on Earth: Learn to love God and learn to love other people. Life is all about love.
But love all started with God. He loved us first, and that gives us the ability to love others (1 John 4:19). The only reason you can love God or love anybody else is because God first loved you. He showed that love by creating you. He showed that love by everything you have in life; it’s all a gift of God’s love. And he showed that love by sending Jesus Christ to Earth to die for you.
In order to love others well, we first need to understand and experience how much God loves us. We don’t want to just talk about love, read about love, or discuss love; we need to encounter the love of God.
We need to reach a place when we truly understand how God loves us completely and unconditionally. We need to become secure in the truth that we cannot make God stop loving us.
Once we’re secure inside God’s unconditional love, we’ll start cutting people a lot more slack. We won’t be as angry as we’ve been. We’ll be more patient. We’ll be more forgiving. We’ll be more merciful. We’ll give others grace.
But you cannot give others something you haven’t received yourself. I hope that as you learn how much God loves you, you’ll also let him heal your heart so that his love can flow freely through you. It’s impossible to love others until you really feel loved yourself.
Talk It Over
When you feel “empty” and unable to give or show love to others, how might God want you to “refuel”?
Do you find it easy or difficult to believe that God loves you completely and unconditionally? Why?
Take time today to make sure your heart is right with the Lord, that you have received his grace, forgiveness, and love so that you can show it to other people.
This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.