Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing devotions pulled from my study What is Love? based on 1 John 4.
To download a 14-day Bible study to accompany these devotions, click here.
If you want to read this series from the beginning, click here.
Last week we ended with the thought that God’s love focuses on restoration. In His fullness of love, He wants to be in relationship with you, but it’s not all lovey-dovey, easy-peasy. In fact, God in all His wisdom demonstrated for us that love—genuine love, genuine love—for another demands action on their behalf and for their best.
That is something we must remember: Real love for another demands action on their behalf and for their best.
Real Love Is Costly
God loves us too much to indulge our every whim. ~Max Lucado, American pastor
It’s popular today to say love is action. Yes, but loving action isn’t always popular. If we truly love someone on their behalf and for their best, then we must love them well even when they don’t love us. Even when they don’t see the action as loving. And even when they are angry because the action isn’t what they would currently choose for themselves.
Let’s take this to a simplistic level. Think about children.
An easy example of real love that is unappreciated.
I remember when our kids were little, we would take a rubber ball outside and kick or throw it around. Sometimes it would go into the street. Can you picture the scene? Because I loved them, I trained them to stay out of the street—even when their ball went there.
The younger a child is, the less they recognize this as important. And if they are strong-willed, then they think the world should bend to their desires. My second child is about as hard-headed as they come, so we had many fights over this one.
But my love meant I acted on his behalf and for his best, even when he didn’t get it or didn’t like it.
Making Real Love More Personal
When was the last time you were angry at God? Or perhaps confused by what He was allowing to happen in your life?
In 2013, my family moved to Virginia, and that confused me. We were retired from the military and settled in our community. We were happy and surrounded by friends close enough to call family. The kids were thriving. I was growing and being challenged to become even more.
And then one morning my husband tells me that God told him it was time for a change. And he believed it meant moving out of state.
That was not in my plans or my kids’s plans, and none of us were particularly happy about it.
I was lost.
We got to our new town, and none of us seemed to fit in for several months. And then by odd chance I made a friend, and she introduced me to more friends. Pieces slowly fell into place.
God’s love for me and my family took us out of a place we loved and brought us to a new state. His loving actions taught my family lessons we could never have learned where we were, and we made connections with people we never would have met in our old home.
I learned I had a book to write for a family as a loving memoir to their dead daughter. My daughter learned that God’s plan is really good, even when you don’t particularly like it. My sons learned that you don’t have to live in the same town with someone to maintain a close friendship.
The kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence. It’s a love that operates more like a sign language than being spoken outright. ~Bob Goff, American lawyer
Even though we fought poor attitudes and tremendous disappointment in the decision, God moving us to Virginia was a loving action on our behalf and for our best. This week, let that soak in and take time to consider where God is moving similarly in your life.
Enjoying this series? You can purchase the study that includes discussion questions to make this all very personal and help you grow in love. It’s downloadable, so print only the pages you want. And it’s only $2!
What is love? We can give examples of love and talk about being in love, but what exactly is it? Do we have a defining moment, an ideal expression to live up to or look for? The apostle John goes deep into love in 1 John chapter 4, telling us exactly what love is.
This 14-day study includes questions to help you define what you think love is and what God may want you to do or change. Download is printable and formatted for half sheets of standard paper (5.5″ x 8.5″).