Love has been standing out to me a lot this past week. No, I am not talking about the feeling that is typically associated with Valentine’s Day. All this “holiday” is is an obligation day for couples and a single’s awareness day for those without a sweetheart. I’m just playing. Honestly, I hope everyone has a wonderful day today with their loved ones!
All kidding aside though, the topic of God’s love has been brought up when I went to get coffee with one of my friends from Bible study. It was also recently mentioned in a Bible plan I am doing with my sisters on the Bible app. I just so happened to end up reading 1 John 4 too, which my daily Bible reading led me to.
Everyone believes that love is important. It is! I completely agree. However, the world’s idea of love is that it is a feeling and just a feeling. But that isn’t so. Love is a choice and an action; that is the true meaning as to what love is. Where does the source of this love come from? Well, it comes from God.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.1 John 4:7
God loves us so much that he sent his one and only son for us. And Jesus. Well, Jesus showed us perfectly what it means to love. Every single thing he did in his life and death was loving. And you know what? Because of the Holy Spirit, we now have that power of love living in us. If we truly know God, his sacrificial love will be evident in how we treat others.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us.1 John 4:12
Jesus, the one and only son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known (John 1:18). He is the complete expression of God in human form, and he has revealed God to us (Colossians 1:15-16). He is a living example of how we should be. When we love others, the “invisible” God reveals himself to them through us.
But do you know what verse stood out to me the most when reading 1 John 4? When reading about God’s love and ours, verse 18 stood out to me like crazy, and I felt God laying something on my heart. I want to share it with you.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.1 John 4:18
Jesus, because he loves us, went to the Cross. Do you know how terrifying that must have been? Especially since you know you would be in so much pain while you’re slowly suffocating and dying. He did not focus on the punishment he would undergo for us who truly deserve it though. Instead, he thought of us. He chose to undergo something like that because that is what perfect love does.
Do you know another act of love that Jesus did that seemed fearful doing? Clearing out the money changers and merchants from the temple. You might be thinking, “He created a whip and flipped tables, how is that an act of love?!” You see, the temple area was crowded during Passover with thousands of out-of-town visitors. The religious leaders allowed money changers and merchants because they thought it convenient to make money for temple upkeep. But, this made things even more crowded and hard for the visitors to worship.
Jesus had righteous anger towards those exploiting others who came to the temple to worship God. Plus, turning the Father’s house into a market was an insult against God. Jesus loved the Lord his God and others. By clearing out the temple, the visitors were able to do what they came to do; worship God. God is the only thing that should be worshiped.
I am one to find confrontation to be terrifying. I could never imagine myself confronting anyone about anything. Conflict is something I am fearful of. I am sure a lot of you are the same way. But do you ever think, maybe driving out the merchants was an act of love for them as well? Maybe it reminded some of them about where they were and what the real focus at the temple should be on.
Sometimes, you have to be righteously angry towards another. Especially if what they are doing is insulting or going against God’s will and is hindering others. And, maybe, just maybe, it will be a wake-up call for the one in the wrong too.
If someone, especially if they are a believer, is doing something against God, we can’t be afraid to love them in such a way as to correct them even if it leads to confrontation. Let us “equip” ourselves, like Jesus equipped himself to face the money changers, and “drive out” our loved ones’ wrongful actions. Let us not be afraid if we know the results will be worth it. We can resolve our fears first by focusing on God’s immeasurable love for us and allowing him to love others through us. His love will quiet our fears and give us confidence.
Let us choose to put love into action, for this kind of love is from God. By doing so, others will be able to see God through us. Even if the action may be a bit daunting, let us be filled with courage by keeping our focus on God. Let us love because he first loved us. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Featured Image by Hush Naidoo Jade Photography on Unsplash