1 John 4:7-8 (New Living Translation) "Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love."
How fitting that John is trying to communicate to his readers how important it is to keep an eye out for false prophets and leaders, those whose intentions are not God's, but for whatever reason, are against God and in league with the antichrist, generally... bad news.
But he tells his readers further that there is a way for us to know, a positive indicator of who are indeed children of God, and who aren't.
The true "acid test" of what really makes up the Christ-followers' metal...his or her substance, is the test of love.
He says that "anyone who loves is a child of God, and KNOWS God." I think that John probably saw waaaay too many people who knew ABOUT God, who wanted to flex that spiritual intellectualism over the rank-and-file believer like some badge of authority, showing them who's got the 'gnosis', who's got the smarts...but completely lacking in love.
John wanted to make sure that everyone whose heart and mind were devoted to Christ would do what Jesus told us to do! To love God, and to LOVE ONE ANOTHER LIKE HE LOVED US.
In a world where love is either rapidly failing, or becoming corrupted and perverted to justify lust and sensuality, I choose to hear what John said (verse 12) "No one has seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us."
How I can love people, unconditionally, is going to be the only way God can be manifested, seen, felt, and heard, in this world. The only way the Living Word can come to life. My words are one thing. But my ACTIONS speak volumes in seconds.
I've discovered that one of the most powerful ways to express unconditional love, what I truly believe is God's love, is in the action of GIVING. Giving my last funds in my wallet to a church offering or to someone who's down and out. Giving time to my kids, or to someone who is lonely and sad. Giving my labors to serve in small and big ways in a church. And one of the most important "gives", giving up my "rights" and giving FORGIVENESS as often as it is needed.
If I look back and think about those, it's simply the same things that God does for me, everyday, to show me how much He loves me.
For me to love like that, is to make God come alive in me. And that kind of love, as Paul told the Corinthians, "never fails" (1 Cor. 13:8)
Jesus, thank You for loving me. Thank You for John's directives to love like You love us, that we would know You and become like You more and more, every day.
Love You Lord Jesus! Amen.