“Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us.” (1 John 4:10).
I am wondering about this statement: real love is love that has its origins in God’s love for us.
1 John 4 mentions love 27 times, and it’s all connected to the love that God has for us. This is the love that he commands us to express in love toward each other.
In verses 7 and 8, it is made very clear that true love — or what we might call “real” love — has its origins in God: love comes from God; God is love.
In verse 10, John says it again and makes it clearer: real love isn’t our love for God but his love for us.
We all need to be loved. We all need to love for that sense of completeness and satisfaction. It seems to me to be an innate part of who we are as people. It has always been in me; has it been in you — to love other people? But do we always get it right?
It starts with God’s forgiveness in us that, in turn, in love, we can give to other people. Some people can get hard to love. How can we keep loving and forgiving those who reject our love, turn their back on us or even attack us? We need another source of love that will empower our love and capacity to forgive and serve other people. I can tell you from my experience of love that whatever real love I am able to give cannot be self-generated or sustained. If I try to love on my own personal “love batteries”, I soon run empty, and the unreal nature of my love is exposed.
What we all discover is that we all depend on being loved by God. Only, he loves us with such depth and passion that not only are we loved to contentment but loved to the brim in such a way that his love will overflow in us. Jesus is our source of real love, and we keep love real when we keep on loving others in his name.
Lord, thank you for your love toward me. Thank you for the forgiveness you give and the ways in which you serve me in life. Keep topping me up with your love so that it will overflow from my life into the lives of others. Amen.