iHeartBible | 1 John 4:19

Day 3 – 1 John 4:19

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because He first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen.21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (ESV)

ImageHave you ever been in a room with evangelical Christians and wondered why it sounds like everyone is eating a really good meal??

It’s because of the “spiritual yummy.” It’s the mmhmmm‘s, mmm mmm mmm’s, and hmmmHmm’s. 

Spiritual yummies.

That’s what this verse makes me do.

Lot’s of spiritual yummies.

This is the passage I want plastered over everywhere, on everything.

This verse (19) really hits home for me. We, all people, are only able to love at all because of God’s love for us. And our love is only a fraction of the intensity of God’s love.

The idea of love is something so central to humankind that, to me, it is the closest thing to proof that God exists. From the furthest corners of the earth, Mothers love their children. Husbands love their wives. Friends love each other.

As humans, we are created for community. As God said in Genesis 2 “it is not good for man to be alone, let us make a helper suitable for him.” We are meant to live and love each other. God created us that way! In Jeremiah 31:33 it says, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” This verse speaks to how integrated God is in our very bodies. Why are incest, adultery, and cannibalism considered taboo in almost every society? Why are marriage, kinship, and love for fellow man considered normal for almost every society? To me that answer lies in the Jeremiah 31 verse above: God wrote it on our hearts! We have a conscience because in one of God’s many ways of reconciling a broken people unto himself, he inscribed his desires onto our hearts.

So because of God’s love for us and His inscribing that into our hearts we are capable of loving others! But here’s the thing.

You can’t really love God if you hate others.

This scripture uses the example of a brother because it is such an easy idea to grasp. Of course there will be times when you do not like your sibling, but you always love them. For some strange reason it is almost impossible to not love a family member. You have to work at hating someone! And the reason you have to work at it is because it is contrary to how God wants you to live! You will always experience a sort of cognitive dissonance about hating someone if you profess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord because you know that you aren’t loving God when you live in hate.

So please, do me a favor today if you’re reading this.

Let it go.

Forgive.

I don’t know who has done what to you.

But, I do not care.

Forgive them.

Because forgiving your offender in love is the single most freeing and loving thing you can do.

Living in the light of God’s love is the most beautiful experience of life, and it is simply not possible while living in hate towards another person.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor (sibling, spouse, coworker, friend, parent, passerby) as you love yourself.

Stay Smiling! Happy looks great on you (:

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