Day 8

Knowing God Through Love

from the reading plan

1 John 4:1-19, Psalm 36:1-12, John 15:18-21, 1 Peter 2:1-3

As a sweating Meatloaf (the singer, not the potluck dish) once belted out, people will “do anything for love.” We are fools for love, risking life and limb and bank account for it. It is the stuff of storybooks and Hollywood. Love overcomes fear and logic. It enables us to do amazing, sometimes idiotic, things. It is incredibly powerful—whether the love of a woman, a parent’s love for a child, or a best friend’s loyal love.

There is a love that supersedes all that, though: the love that marks us as followers of Jesus. It is perfect love because it is God’s love, the love that moved Him to give up His Son to make us His own children. It is the love that sent the Holy Spirit to be our guide. It is the love that gives us the assurance of our place as His children and our freedom from His judgment. As children of God, our acts of love are because of His Perfect love. We love because we are loved, marked as God’s family by two things: professing Jesus as Lord of our lives, and this perfect love from God, who is love (1John 4:16).

If our love for a spouse, a child, or a friend can overcome our fears, what can this perfect love from God do? It drives out fear (v.18). It doesn’t mask fear or the consequences for our actions, and it doesn’t make us fools by stealing our left-brain logic. As mortal, sinful people we will still be afraid, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost sight of God’s love for us in Christ. It doesn’t mean we’ve lost touch with the Spirit, who works to comfort us and assure us of our place in God’s family. If we are in Christ, we have the unfailing love of God, and we need not be shaped or defined by our fears ever again.

Imagine a life not marked by insecurity or worrying about what other people will think of us. Imagine stepping up and actually doing those things we feel led to do, knowing that the love we have from God is too great to keep to ourselves. But we don’t have to imagine! We are children of God, and because of His great love for us, we don’t have to fear trials or persecution. We live in the shelter of God’s love and are defined by it.

Written by Barnabas Piper

Post Comments (3)

3 thoughts on "Knowing God Through Love"

  1. Ryan says:

    Whew. So much to take in in this section of 1 John. Starting out with the warning to test spirits / false prophets, we then move into an incredibly dense section on love. I feel like any one or two of these verses in v7-19 could stand alone. It’s the same style of writing that rapid-fires non-linearly from a whole bunch of perspectives. Obviously the common thread is love: There is explanation on who knows God—based on the criteria of love, there is exhortation on living out love, there is climactic examples of God’s love through Christ, there is explanation on what love does and where is comes from, and on and on. So so much on love. Seems like this section is really just going to take me memorization and meditation one verse at a time.

  2. Jerod Baker says:

    What is love? To lay down ones life for ones friends is what Christ said. How do I love like this? It sounds like a simple choice but my “rational” mind gets in the way most every time I try to do it on my own. Only when my eyes are fixed on Christ do I have real power to lay it all down. My prayer today is for a better focus though out the day that my eyes stay fixed on Jesus. Too many days I feel like Peter when he walked on water. I step out of the boat to love but when the waves of life rage I look away from Christ at the dangers around and I begin to sink into self preservation. I know that faith is like a muscle and it must be exercised, each day as I get out of the boat I can get a little closer to Christ before I begin to sink and must cry out for him to rescue me. While it saddens me I don’t make it farther it brings great joy that He rescues me every time. As the waves of life threaten to consume me He always reaches down and pulls me back into the boat so I can regroup and try to walk by faith upon the waters again.

  3. Charlie says:

    “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.”
    ‭‭Imagine a world where the Christ-followers showed the full expression of God’s love to the world. The hunger people have to be loved would suddenly be filled. Such a message of hope. I love how John follows this up knowing the fear that eats away at the banks of this thought. His encouragement later in the chapter addresses that nagging fear.
    “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.”

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