1 John 4:12, KJV:
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
From 1 John 4:12, we learn it is by love that God is known. Although we can’t see wind or electricity, we are able to see the their effects. God is a spirit, so we cannot see Him physically, but as with the forces of wind and electricity, we are able to see God’s effect, which is love.
When the spirit of God enters into a person, he is clothed with the love of God and God is made known in the earth by this effect on that individual’s life. The best demonstration of God is not established by argument, but from a life filled with the love of Christ.
1 John 4:9, KJV:
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
The full manifestation of God’s perfect love was demonstrated by His gift to humanity, Jesus Christ. With this in mind we can quickly glean two important truths about the love of God:
1) God’s love holds nothing back.
2) God’s love is totally undeserved.
The Bible says He has blessed us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places. In fact, His love was so overwhelming that He was willing to give His only son as a sacrifice for us—an unimaginable sacrifice beyond all human comprehension.
After all His blessing, it really would make sense for us to love God, but the truly amazing thing is that even if we don’t, He still loves us! That’s right, God even loves those who are disobedient and don’t love Him back. When there was nothing good about us, He directed His love towards humanity—a love that was totally undeserved.
So Human love is fundamentally a response to the divine love of God. In other words, we love God because God loved us first. Without this arrangement, we couldn’t truly love at all because it’s in His love that we gain the choice to love. Very simply, the love of God and the love of man are inextricably linked to each other. As C.H. Dodd finely put it, “The energy of love discharges itself along the lines which form a triangle, whose points are God, self and neighbor.” When we claim the love of God for ourselves, we are equally bound to love one another because the only proof we love God, is that we also love our neighbor.
Like so many things in life, this is easier said than done. Some folks are hard to like, let alone love. It’s difficult to love someone who lies to, abuses or mistreats you, yet when Jesus experienced these same crimes, He still managed to choose love every time. For a believer indwelt by God’s spirit, there is a choice.
The next time you’re faced with an offensive situation, you can choose offense, anger and bitterness, but I encourage you to choose love. It’s not only the best choice, it’s God’s choice. I’ve found that when I do, He honors my decision with great peace and makes my enemies my friends.
Because I chose Christ, I also choose love.
– Ps. Ken