Bible Reading: 1 John 3:11-24
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (1 John 3:16)
Have we ever stopped to meditate on what true love really is? We know it is God’s command to love one another, but have we truly understood the grandeur of our calling? Let us meditate on 1 John 3:16 and introspect ourselves.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us.”
Love is an abstract concept which we struggle to understand. Most of the time, we associate it with feelings and our relationships with other people. Those things are definitely part of love. Yet, true love is more profound than all that. Love is what God did for us on the cross. Love is God’s ultimate sacrifice.
Ponder on what God gave up to save us, unworthy sinners. Christ had to come to earth out of His throne and glory. He came from infinite glory to be a limited man. God was the creator. He was free and unbound in his greatness. Yet, He gave that up to be a creation which He designed. He took on the humiliating shame of a man.
From there He gave up even the world’s luxuries to hang out with really broken people. He ministered to the prostitutes, tax collectors, sick and disabled. He proclaimed the good news boldly to them. But not only that, He gave Himself as an atonement for the sins which had been the deadly killer of the broken.
God, the author of Life, gave up His life for the sake of His people who He will save. God proclaims His mercy and radiant glory in His love for us. Through His sacrifice, we see His Holiness, His Majesty and His nature of love. This is what love is. It is God Himself. Love is God’s nature alone. Only God holds true love, and He makes it known to His chosen ones.
“And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”
God calls us to love one another with the same sacrificial love He has given us. To such standards, our love fails to compare. Do we truly love our neighbours? Christ gave us His all. He traded His infinite glories for a restricted earthly life. Have we given down our lives for the sake of others? This is God’s calling for us — that we give all in response to His love, to love those around us.
How do we love our biological brothers and sisters? How do we love our brothers and sisters in Christ? Do we actively seek to build one another up in faith?
A lot of the time, our hearts are fixated on ourselves. In our own egocentrism, we think of our own wellbeing, our own spirituality even. Yet we forget God’s church. He has united us as one to love each other and to grow in His likeness together.
Love is not just feeling, word or talk. Love is “in deed and in truth”. Have you laid down your life to pray for your brothers and sisters, to care for those who need care, to minister God’s Word — humankind’s essential need — and work out the talents God has given you to serve?
In trembling and fear, let us seek obedience to such great calling, only to “love because He loved us first” (1 John 4:19).
Lord, it is impossible for me to love as You love apart from Your grace and mercy. Please help me. Please forgive my selfishness and neglect of others. Change my sinful heart and renew me. Here is my one life; I lay it down before You. I give every second and moment to be used by You to love others. I do not know how to love. Teach me how to love. Teach me to pray for my brothers and sisters, teach me to care, and share Your Word. Teach me to use and develop my talents that I may use them to serve others and ultimately serve You. Take my life as a present offering, use it for Your glory. Thank You, God, that You loved me first with love so great I cannot comprehend. In Jesus’ name, amen.