“If I do not have love, I am only a noisy bell or a crashing cymbal.”
1 Corinthians 13:1 (NCV)
Life is all about love. Without love, we are just adding to the noise.
Love is not just something God does, it’s who he is. Love is God’s character and we were created to be like him. “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16 NIV). God demonstrated his love by creating you. He sent his only Son to earth to die for you. Every good thing you have is a gift from him, given because he loves you.
In order to really love others, you first need to understand how much God loves you: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NIV). You can’t just know about God’s love, you need to personally experience it. It’s not enough to simply give a definition of love, you have to have tasted it for yourself.
His love is perfect, you can’t do anything to earn more of it. You can’t do anything to lose it. You can’t hide from it, and you can’t outrun it. Don’t ignore his love because his love includes forgiveness for everything we’ve ever done wrong. It replaces our guilt, shame, and resentment. When you fully understand that God loves you completely and unconditionally, you will become secure in the truth that you cannot make God stop loving you.
Once you’re secure inside God’s unconditional love, you’ll be able to love others the way God loves you. You’ll be more patient and less angry. You’ll be more thoughtful and willing to serve others. When you are hurt, you’ll be more forgiving and show grace. You cannot give to others what you have not received yourself.
As you learn how much God loves you, his love will overflow from your life into everyone you meet.
January 1 from Open Doors: A Year of Devotions