1 John 4:16
16 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. (NIV)
If you have read any of my books, come to counseling, or have consistently read these devotions, you know one of the main themes of my writing is learning to love better. The world today sees love primarily as an emotion. People say they love others and I do believe they have an emotional affection for others, but their lifestyle does not reflect love.
The Holy Spirit knew that we would struggle with the concept of love so He reminds us what real love looks like. It is patient and kind. The minute I lose my patience or stop being kind, I have stopped loving. I may have a strong affection for the person I am losing my patience with. I may be able to say truthfully that I love that person. But I must also acknowledge that at that moment, I stopped loving.
Love does not envy. It’s not proud. It does not dishonor. It’s not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It doesn’t beat you up with your past mistakes. These are all loving behaviors so we must conclude that love may be an emotional affection, but it is also a behavior that can be learned. We can learn to love better.
As we seek to please the Lord behaviorally as we love others, the Lord honors us by cleansing from us all that is not love so that we eventually feel what we are trying to do behaviorally.
Our passage today reminds us that we must live or dwell in love. We must remain loving in our behavior toward others. As we remain in love more consistently, we will find ourselves abiding more in the presence of God where He continually pours out His love into us more. More of Him in us will pour out to others keeping us in His presence and experiencing more of His love.
Let me finish by reminding us that perfect love drives out fear. The longer we remain in this cycle of being filled by Him and pouring His love into others, the Spirit gives us power to grasp the depth of God’s love. To know how deeply God loves us, and to know His limitless power, gives us assurance that no matter what, He will take care of us. This drives away fear, stress, and worry. Let’s learn to love better.
Prayer: Lord, help me to love better. Amen.