1 John 4:7-12
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
“God is love” must be one of the most quoted bits of the Bible (22.3 million results from searching for it on Google), mostly without the rest of the verse.
It’s often used to suggest that God will have to accept me no matter what garbage and sin I fill my life with. It’s often used as a rebuke to God for not fixing the world in the ways I would like. But the emphasis here is not on what God should or shouldn’t do, but on what I should be doing. (He’s already done more than enough to show his love, and Jesus’ sacrifice is the clearest statement of all.)
It’s true that love is a fundamental defining characteristic of God, and realization of this is a key to understanding so much of what he says and does. But John’s saying here that it’s also a key to understanding myself.
If love doesn’t become a defining characteristic of my life too, then I don’t know him. If I don’t take hold of love and make it who I am, I’m not letting go of the sin that Jesus sacrifice was to take away and it remains who I am. If I refuse to love, I refuse to let God live in me.
Jesus, I choose your love for me. I choose to make it part of me. I choose to have you live your life and your love in me.
Written by David Cornell