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At Clarksburg Baptist Church, we believe that loved people love others. While we believe it, often it’s difficult to practice. A daily reminder of our motivation for loving others, as well as where to find the ability to do so, is helpful.
Our Motivation – God’s rightful expectation
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” – 1 John 4:10-11 (NIV)
We are indeed “loved people.” We did not love God. In all honesty, left to ourselves we would oppose God rather than loving him. God, of his own initiative, loved us.
We did not reach out to God. God reached out to us and sent Jesus to die for us. That is truly amazing and unmerited love.
Since God has shown such love to us, John asks, “Do we not then have an obligation or debt to love others?” Not only is “yes” the only acceptable answer, there is also an implied urgency that we take action. Loving others is not something that can be put off or neglected.
Our Ability – God lives in you and you in God
No matter how strong the motivation, fortunately, we aren’t left to find a way to love others under our own power. In fact, it is useless to try because we are just not capable of it on our own.
“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 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.” – 1 John 4:15-16 (NIV)
A person’s profession of faith in Christ reveals an inward commitment to personally trust him as Savior. It is also a commitment to obedient trust in God. John says that when that happens, God lives in them and they in God.
In these verses, “lives” is in the present tense. In other words, it is happening at the present moment and is ongoing. Because of that, we who are believers in Christ have, living and growing in us, the power to fulfill our obligation to love others.
God is love. Love is God’s very nature. So, because we live in God (whose very nature is love) and God (whose very nature is love) lives in us, his love not only fills us but also overflows from us to others.
Loved people love others. There is no greater motivation to love others than the love God has shown to us. Not only that, isn’t it reassuring that it is indeed possible, not because of our own power, but through God living in us?