For the past two weeks, I have been thinking and meditating on the love of God. The concept of God’s love is something we are taught at a very early age. My two young daughters sing, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” As far back as I can remember, I have been able to recite one of the most well known verses in the bible: “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only son…” The love of God is by no means a new concept to us. And yet, I just don’t think we get it.
I have been thinking about how powerful love really is. Jesus tells us the greatest commands are to love God and others (Matt 22:37-39.) Paul tells us that between faith, hope, and love, love is the greatest (1 Cor. 13:13.) John tells us that whoever loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7.)
Love is a big deal. But here’s the thing, we are incapable of loving people with the kind of love that God expects of us. The new command Jesus gives us is to love one another. Not just to love one another the way the world does. He explicitly tells us, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another,” (John 13:34.)
If there ever was a high bar, this is surely it. To love people the way that Jesus has loved us. Is it possible? If so, how can we get to a place where we are living out that reality in our lives? Not just talking about how Jesus loves people, but actually loving them as He loves them.
We find an answer to those questions in 1 John 4:19. It is a very simple verse, but I believe it holds a key to helping us unlock how to love people the way that Jesus loves them. John simply stated, “We love because He first loved us.”
That’s it. Seven simple words that hold within them a revelation that can absolutely transform the way we love people. This piece of Scripture describes a cause and effect relationship. Because God loves us, we can love.
I have been meditating on the idea that the degree to which I understand and experience the love of God will largely determine the degree to which I am able to love others. We love because He first loved us. I have been asking God to help me understand his great love for me. Not just to understand with my mind, but to experience it in a deeply personal way. I believe that the more I understand and experience God’s love for me, the more I will be freed up to love others in that same way. We love because He first loved us.
BYX is a fraternity that will rise and fall based upon how well we love our brothers. If we love one another the way Jesus has loved us, our chapters will flourish and thrive from within. At the same time, when others see Christ-like love walked out among God’s people, something happens. After all Jesus himself said, “This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other (John 13:35.) But again, we are only going to be able to love each other to the degree that we have first understood and experienced God’s love for us.
So my challenge and encouragement to each of you this week is to ask for a greater revelation of God’s love for you. Don’t be content to simply sing, “Oh, how he loves us.” Rather ask Jesus to allow you to enter into the depths of His great love for you personally. If we are able to get a hold of His love for us, the natural response will be to love one another. And if we love one another the way He has first loved us, we will experience the kind of brotherhood and unity that can only be found in the Kingdom of God. A kind of brotherhood and unity that this world knows nothing of.
And at the same time, the love we have for one another will impact our campuses. Others will notice that these are the men that have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13.) As they observe the way we love one another, they will ask where that love comes from. And hopefully they can find the answer for themselves.
“We love because He first loved us.”