November 02, 2017

It’s in the Doing

1 John 4:7-21

We love because he first loved us.

—  1 John 4:19

John speaks directly to the heart of love as he writes, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” Loving is not an abstract, optional concept. It originates with God, and we pass along God’s love in our relationships with others.

Lewis Smedes put it this way in his book Love Within Limits: “God’s love song is in many ways like other great love songs. . . . Our challenge is to find ways to bring the heavenly rhapsody down into our own worldly ­realities.” How true—and how difficult! Only one person, Jesus, lived out perfectly the demands of perfect love, and he was crucified.

Living with one another gets messy, and people can be so difficult! We live with family, friends, and neighbors who often seem determined to test even our desire to love. But God didn’t command us to like one another. Jesus, after stating that the greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God . . .” reminded everyone that the second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).

That is not an optional command. Jesus also described it as a new command and gave the reason for us to obey it: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).

Jesus expects us to obey his commands. And he promises he will help us.

Lord Jesus, often we are difficult to love. Thank you for always loving us and being our example of patience and perseverance as we seek to love others in your name. Amen.

About the author — George Vink

Pastor George Vink has served as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church for more than 30 years in British Columbia, Montana, Michigan, and California. He and his wife, Shirley, have four married sons and nine grandchildren.

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