Has anyone told you what you ought to do lately? What was it?
Love is the most important thing that God gives to us. Imagine how terrible life would be without love. What if no one cared about anyone but themselves? What if no one ever did anything nice for another person. What if no one ever loved their children, or their parents, or their brothers and sisters? Love is what keeps us all from being terrible, evil people. Love makes life good.
Read this part of John’s letter and see if you can list some of the things he tells us about love:
1 John 4:7-12. 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
What is John trying to teach us about love?
First, John wants us to know that God is love (verse 8). God doesn’t only have love or choose to love sometimes. God IS love. This means that everything he does, even when he’s angry, is done from love for us and his creation.
Second, God shared his love with us through his Son, Jesus (verse 9). God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to save us through his death for us on the cross. God loved us so much that he would cancel (propitiate) all our sins away so that we never have to worry about them again (verse 10).
Third, God loves us so much that he decided to live (abide) inside of us, in our hearts (verse 12). Sometimes we might like to visit someone that we “love.” But how often do we want to move in with someone forever. You’d have to really love that person. But that’s how much God loves us. He wants to live with us forever and he wants to change us into the same kind of loving person that he is.
And that’s why John can say that we “ought to love one another” like God (verse 11).
But why does John tell us that we OUGHT to love? Because that’s what we were made to do. Birds ought to fly. Fish ought to swim. Dogs ought to chase things. And Christians ought to love. Why? Because now that God lives inside of us, loving is what we were made to do. Being nice is now part of who we are. Kindness is our job. Sharing is our life. We ought to do what we are, and we are like Jesus!
Because of Jesus we are loved by God.
With Jesus we can (and ought) to love others.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Here’s a short video about 1 John and God’s love to watch together.
You always love me perfectly even when I don’t love perfectly. Help me to love like you a little bit more every day.
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