Saturday (3/28/20) - Lord God, by your Word fill me with a spirit of love and servanthood
1 John 4:7-21 - Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.
As we finish out our focus on love and servanthood, we come face to face with two realities that we must not only understand but put into practice. First, we are called to love each other because we have been given so much love. You hear me say this a lot – God loved us even when we are unlovable. We cannot repay his love. We cannot do anything to earn his love. He simply loves us. He showed us the depth of his love through the cross – Christ became man, lived a life free from sin and yet took our sin on the cross so that we could have new life.
The second reality we have to face regarding love is that because we have been shown this great love, we must love others. This is such an important concept to grasp that we read in today’s verses that if we say we love God but don’t love others we are a liar. That is a very strong statement to make! Nobody wants to be called a liar – that means that we are untrustworthy and unreliable. If I believe someone is a liar in one area, I tend to question every thing else they say or do.
A number of years ago as I was deciding to leave the manufacturing world and move into the pastorate, I read these verses and was confronted with the fact that I was unwilling to love several people. On a human level, I had every right to hate these individuals because of the things they had done to me and to others. But as I studied this passage, I realized that it was calling me a liar and questioning my love for God. That caused me to really evaluate my heart and realize that I not only needed to forgive but to also be forgiven.
The bottom line from this passage and the others we have focused on this past week is that if we claim to be Christians who are trying to follow Christ in every aspect of our life, we must love others. We need to love those who are good to us and those who are not. We need to love those who can help us in our life and those will never be able to help us. We need to love others because of the great love God has shown us. And that love should lead to a life of servanthood. It is not enough to say we love someone; we need to show it in how we live and interact with everyone around us.
And during this season of Lent we are reminded of the greatest example of love and servanthood we will ever see. Jesus not only said he loved us, he went out to the cross and died for us. His love produced an action that changed the course of the world. Now we are called to be like Jesus and show our love for others. How well are you loving others today?