With the recent tragedies in Bellefontaine fresh on the minds of our community and the nation, I’ve given a great deal of thought to the unnecessary and increasing violence in the world. The violence isn’t limited to the grand-scale evil perpetrated by men such as Moammar Kadafi or Osama bin Laden, there seems to be a pervasive hatred towards our fellow man on every level. When our senior citizens, schools and universities are repeatedly victim to pre-meditated violence and mayhem, it would seem that we are in desperate need of some love!
When the Beatles were asked to come up with a simple song that all nationalities could understand, John Lennon wrote “All You Need is Love.” Later, when an interviewer suggested “Give Peace a Change” and “Power to the People” were propaganda songs, Lennon answered, “Sure. So was ‘All You Need Is Love.’ I’m a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change.”
Interestingly enough, the concept was not the product of a young revolutionary from Liverpool. The message was first heralded two thousand years earlier, by a revolutionary from Bethlehem, the greatest reformer of all.
Luke 10:27, KJV:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.
Some of the most powerful words in scripture about God are found in 1 John 4:7-21. In his first of three epistles, John gives us some incredible perception into the nature and character of God. This passage is so rich with insight about God, that I’m going to dissect it over my next several blogs.
1 John 4:7-8, KJV:
Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and everyone that loves is of God, and knows God. He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
Love has it’s origin in God because it is from Him that all love finds it’s source. Chapter one of Genesis teaches us that we are made in the likeness and image of God, so human love is simply a reflection of something found in the divine nature of God. We must love, if we want to be like Him, because He is love.
The love Jesus taught not only emphasized our need to love God, but also our obligation to love one another—He even commanded us to love our enemies. Theologians regard this radical love we strive to walk in as the ultimate goal of moral perfection. According to the Apostle Paul, even our faith works by love, so it’s not just a divine mandate, it is the very fuel that drives our lives into the gracious presence of the Lord!
How are we measuring up to the standard of love that God desires from us—the standard of love demonstrated by Jesus? While no one can live up to this standard all the time, despite our human weakness, all of us have the capacity to love more perfectly. It’s an acquired taste, so taste and see the Lord is good! If loving God leads to knowing God, loving one another must lead to knowing one another, creating real, Biblical community that overcomes the hate and violence of the world.
Let’s love strong at Ignite this week and see God pour out His presence and blessing on us all!
– Ps. Ken