1 John 4:16 says
‘And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.’
I am a Bible reader. I believe in it. I believe the Bible is the living word of God, that it teaches us and is relevant to our lives. I believe that if we have a question we can find the answer in the Bible. It may not provide a list of rules, or a clear answer to everything, but it will never fail to shine the light of God onto our situation… and it will never fail to reveal His love.
Now, that’s a lot of Christian jargon. So, what do I mean?
I mean that this book is, to those who believe it, a source of wisdom, a course of comfort, a source of much needed challenge to our broken human ways of thinking AND that it tells us WHO GOD IS.
And this passage, written by one of Jesus’ disciples, John, is one of the clearest that there is when it comes to talking about who God is. God, John says, is Love.
Here love becomes an active word, not a passive one. It becomes a doing word. A name. A way of being. God has many names, and many aspects to his character. Many put him beyond our understanding, but this one, Love, is something we can begin to understand.
We are all moulded by our experience of love. Either having it, or not. Being loved as a child or not. Being able to express love to another person, a partner or friend or child. We go through this life and are marked by our experiences of love. Each time we feel loved we remember, and each time we notice the lack of love we feel that too. We are built to notice, crave, give and receive love… it is an unmistakable and defining characterising of humanity… but why?
Here John gives us an answer. We are built to respond to love because the one who created us - God - is, in His very nature, the very essence of love. GOD IS LOVE. And He created us to be like him. He wired us to love, to be loved. He wired us to notice a lack of love. And He wired us to respond to his love for us.
John’s encouragement in this passage is for us to notice love, and to learn how to love each other, and God well.
He writes that All who love know God, because God is love.
What does this mean for us? Even if we don’t profess to know God?
It means that if we have tasted love, we have tasted God. Because all love comes from Him, and all love flows back to him. If we have known love - from a parent, for a child, for a friend, for a partner, for a justice movement, or for a stranger, we have caught a glimpse of God.
It’s an encouragement to us…
To reach out and ask ‘where does this come from?’… and to adjust our eyes to see that the answer is clear… we love because He first loved us. We see and know love because He is love.
John goes further - for those who know God, this passage is a challenge to love well. To love God well. To love each other well. To love the world around us well. To grow in love. Because God is love, and because the world will see God in how we love one another.
Wherever you are at today… either a cynic or a person wildly in love with God… can I encourage you to look around yourself and ask yourself the question… Why do we love? Where does it come from? And: How can I love better, How can I show love better? And how can I reach out to the creator of it all, the one who IS LOVE. to GOD HIMSELF. Because, I promise you, he is reaching out to you with more love than you can imagine.
Just look up.