God wired us for relationships. We long to love and we long to be loved. The most important relationship we have is with God. When we realize how much he loves us, and we realize that he has filled us with his Spirit, we respond to his love by loving him and loving others.
God is love.
God does not simply have within himself the capacity to show love, but rather at a much deeper and foundational level his very essence is loving. Everything he does is loving. He loves us unconditionally, and we are to love others in this way. If we truly know God, we will have an internal desire to love people unconditionally, just like he loves us. Stronger than emotions, this type of love compels us to show love to others in practical ways.
Unconditional love means showing kindness, compassion and care for someone, expecting nothing in return. When you love someone unconditionally, you serve their needs and sacrifice for them, you encourage them and pray for them, you help them and provide for them according to your ability, not concerned with whether or not they choose to show love to you in return.
The other person may or may reciprocate your love. They may not even acknowledge your efforts. They may ignore you, mock you or treat you poorly. Do not let this discourage you. Draw your strength and perspective from the Lord. He loves you, so you should continue to love others.
God did not wait on us — he initiated love toward us. We love him because he loved us first. In the same way, we should not wait on others — we should take the initiative in showing love.
The world we live in is filled with fear. Danger, brokenness and loneliness are three reasons people become afraid. People fear the rejection of others and the judgment of God. But you do not have to be afraid. Perfect love drives out fear. Replace fear with God’s love. Receive his love, depend on his love and rest in his love. Then show love fearlessly to others, whether they respond with love or not.
When Jesus was on the earth, he showed us how to love others unconditionally. He spent time with each person who needed him. His words brought encouragement and healing. He touched people and made them whole. He used the resources God provided to feed multitudes and bless people with surprising gifts of nourishment. He served his disciples by washing their feet. He went to the cross to show us the full extent of his love.
In 1 John 4:7-21, we read about God’s unconditional love for us. As you read this passage, ask the Lord this question: In light of God’s love for me, how can I show unconditional love to someone today? As the Lord speaks to you through his Word, obey him and show love to the person or people he brings to mind.
1 John 4:7-21
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son as the world’s Savior. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God — God remains in him and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. 17 In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.
Here’s the question again: In light of God’s love for me, how can I show unconditional love to someone today?
Brothers and sisters, let us show unconditional love to one another. Today. Because God is love.