Love starts with God

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God … We love because he first loved us.
- from 1 John 4:7 & 19

God is the source of all love. Love doesn’t start with us. As the apostle John said: “We love because [God] first loved us.” Why is it important to know that God loves first?

We will all encounter people in our lives who are difficult to love. Maybe their personalities grate on us. Maybe their beliefs frustrate us. Maybe our paths just don’t cross often, easily, or well. We all find it difficult to generate love for certain people.

Good news! Love doesn’t start with us. We don’t have to create love. We only have to choose whether or not to pass it along. The God who loves us fills our hearts with love and then invites us to step out with him in service to those he loves. As we serve, if we serve in a love-filled response to God’s love, we will inevitably grow in love for the people we’re serving.

Because God loves first, God gets to decide who we are to love. His list of people that we are to love is pretty extensive, including both brothers and sisters, both neighbors and enemies, both God and ourselves. Along the way, we may find ourselves wishing we could shift gears and withhold our love. A neighbor may hurt us. A brother may disappoint us. A look in the mirror may reveal a person who we feel deserves no love at all. But God doesn’t delegate the choice of who we are to love to us.

God sparks love and directs love and he also completes love. As we’ll see tomorrow, love doesn’t hang in the air as a warm and fuzzy feeling. Love gets its hands dirty. Love sweats. Love picks up a shovel, a rake, a spatula, a spool of thread, a rugged cross.

How does God’s love for you shape the love you have for others?

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