1 John 3:16
Monday, November 20 2017
Love. True love. What is it really?
First of all, although Hollywood and Bollywood try ever-so-hard to make us believe so, true love is not just a feeling - because the feelings in our deceptive and ever-changing hearts come and go. True love lasts forever.
True love is also not just getting - because that is self-centeredness, and not love. Love is more concerned with giving, than with getting.
Love is also not sex. Love is a part of honorable sex, of course - but it is so much more than just sex.
So then, if real love is not just a feeling, is not just getting, and is not all about sex - what is it?
Let's look to 1 John 3, which begins by speaking of God's love for us...
How that love has made us His children: "He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will." (Ephesians 1:5)
How that love distances us from the world, not physically but spiritually: because in the world there is the practice of sinning and lawlessness and unrighteousness - and those who live according to this practice are children of the devil.
1 John 3 then continues...
"For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." (v.11) Not like Cain, who was of the devil, and who assassinated his brother Abel out of envy and anger and hate. But truly loving and caring for our brethren as children of God.
Then comes 1 John 3:16 explaining to us just exactly how to do so:
"By this we know love,
that he laid down his life for us,
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers."
If we are told to love one another, we must be able to "know" that love, to "perceive" and "understand" that love.
The explanation immediately follows: this love is the "love of God", "real love" and "true love. And we can know it, because God's Son Jesus showed us what it meant by laying down His life for us, by sacrificing His life for us. Jesus' life was not demanded of Him, or snatched away from Him, or forced from Him - He lay his life down voluntarily and willingly, because of the authority given to Him, and out of love for His friends. "No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down..." (John 10:18) "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
Simply put: when you love, you are willing to lay down your life for someone, as Jesus did for us. And so, following His example of love, we too ought to lay down our lives for our fellow believers in Christ. Because we are to love, not just with our words and our talk, but also in our deeds and in truth.
"I love you" is so easy to say - but so much harder to live out in action. That is why God did not simply send us a letter from heaven telling us that He loves us. That is why He sent that which was was most precious to Him, His only Son Jesus, to earth - to show us not just in words but in deeds that He loves us. That is why Jesus willingly came to live with us on earth, and then of His own accord why He sacrificed His life for us on the cross - to show us not just in talk but in truth that He loves us.
And now: "... to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps." (1 Peter 2:21) Our calling is to suffer as He suffered, because He is our example. Our command is to lay down our lives for our fellow believers, because He did so first.
Jesus laid down His life for you, out of love.
Are you willing to lay down your life for others, as He did for you?
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