Read 1 John 4:7-21
Love has a limit, at least that is, if you are the NECCO candy company. Each year they make 8 billion of the small,chalky candy hearts to be sold on Valentine’s day. Each message of love can only contain a two line, 8 character message of affection for your sweetie. Over the years the messages and length have undergone quite a change—consider the piece of paper included in the package of hearts in 1860: “Please send a lock of your hair by return mail.” Doesn’t quite say “love” like the message of endearment added in 2010, “Tweet me!”
The beautiful thing for the Christian is that the message of the love of God doesn’t change with the times. We learn in 1 John that “God is Love” and that the motivation for us loving others comes from the love that is shown to us by God. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
When we think about the gospel and the depth of love that God the Father demonstrated in the sending of his Son to be the sacrifice for our sins we should feel gratefulness and amazement that God would initiate such love toward us as sinners. As we saw yesterday in 2 Corinthians 5:21,God initiated the great exchange whereby he put our sin on Christ and put the very righteousness of God on us by faith. Not only should this produce gratefulness in our hearts, but our love for others should be increasing and we should be seeking to demonstrate the love God has shown to us in the way we love others.
But the universal temptation for men and women when it comes to love is to base it on performance—that we love others who love us in return. But for the Christian, our motivation should not be the love that others show us, but to look to the love God demonstrates toward us in Christ.
A love that keeps in mind the gospel will be a love that is able to love generously because we are motivated by a God-centered love.
Live with a Mission today: Think of someone that you find difficult to love. Ask God to help you grow in your appreciation and love for them and ask Him to give you an opportunity to love them motivated by the love you have been shown in Christ.