Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing devotions pulled from my study based on 1 John 4.
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What is love? That’s a big question with an ineffable word (too great to be described), but let’s see what we can do with it.
When you think about love, what’s the first image that comes to your mind? Take a moment and make the picture clear enough that you could describe it to me.
Now, think about one of your favorite people who also likes/loves you. How do you show love to them? How do they show love to you? Create a tangible list in your mind for both questions.
Finally, think about someone you really don’t like. What do you think when you hear God wants to deeply love and care for them just like He wants to deeply love and care for you? Don’t rush ahead. Put concrete words to this question.
What is Love?
The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. ~
We’re going to dive in quickly and look at 1 John 4:7 where the apostle John writes, Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
I won’t get into a lot of grammar on you, but the words the Holy Spirit led John to write here are important. When he wrote has been born—that is the present perfect continuous verb form. Don’t worry. I always have to look this verb stuff up too.
When John used the perfect tense (has born), he said that at our spiritual birth, we were born of God and that was a completed activity. Nothing else is ever required because the job of joining God’s family is done. The moment you let Christ in, you are in God’s family.
However, John goes further.
He adds the continuous perfect tense (has been born), and he adds clarification with his conjunction and second verb and knows. All of those fancy grammar words mean this: the effects of the birth and the process of knowing are continuing.
It’s kinda like this. When you were born (or adopted) into your earthly family, nothing more was required for you to be part of that family. The work, whether it was through the birth process or through the legal system, had been done.
But, as you grew, the effects grew with you and the knowledge you had of your family grew. Think about how much more you understand your parents today than you did when you were 5. Think about how much more you understand belonging to your family now than you did when you were 5.
As we grow and learn, our knowledge of family also grows.
It works like that with God. Even if we are loving right now with everything in us, the more we experience the realities of who God is and what He does for us, the more we learn about His incredible love, the more we can love and draw upon God’s love to love even more.
The fancy word for that is regeneration in Christ.
You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. ~Robert Louis Stevenson
What John wrote in 1 John 4 is so amazing that we’ll spend the next few weeks with him. I don’t want you to miss a single thing!
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!
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″).