1 John 4:19-5:4
We love each other because he loved us first.
If some one says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ, has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
According to the New Life Study Bible:
God’s love is the source of all human love, and it spreads like fire. In loving his children, God kindles a flame in their hearts. In turn, they love others, who are warmed by God’s love through them.
After reading this, my mind immediately went to a sign I pass everyday on my way to work. It’s outside a Christian Church just down the street from my house and every week they have profound messages on their sign outside the church. The latest one reads: “The cold world needs warm-hearted Christians.” How true is that?!
Back to the study bible interpretation:
It is easy to say we love God when that love doesn’t cost us anything more than weekly attendance at religious services. But the real test of our love for God is how we treat the people right in front of us – our family members and fellow believers. We cannot truly love God while neglecting to love those who are created in his image.
Lip service is easy. How quickly we could say to someone, “Well of course I believe in God and of course I love Him.” But oh, how hard and difficult is it to say “I love you” to our friends and family members, the people we are, supposedly, closest too. Do you think of them as being created by God too? Do you look at them with love all the time or is it sometimes hard to do that when you might become hurt by them? As humans, we are not perfect nor are we supposed to be. But isn’t it challenging to keep loving people who continually make mistakes? How would God feel about people who make mistakes? Oh that’s right…He loves us anyways.
Lastly, from the study guide:
Jesus never promised that obeying him would be easy. But the hard work and self-discipline of serving Christ is no burden to those who love him. And if our load starts to feel heavy, we can always trust Christ to help us bear it. See Matthew 11:28-30:
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Life isn’t easy. No one said it would be. And although there may be times that obeying God is the most challenging and difficult task we could ever be faced with, He loves us just the same.
Fit in your Faith Today: How difficult is it for you to admit your love for God, especially to others? Do you find it even more challenging to love others, even your friends and family members? Understand that we are all imperfect people. We will make mistakes. But that doesn’t mean we love each other less. Remember that everyone you encounter is made in the image of God. So smile and treat them with kindness, the kindness that our loving Father shows us, no matter what mistakes we make.