May 18, 2015

Love Returned

1 John 4:7-21

We love because he first loved us.

—  1 John 4:19

When my wife and I brought each of our children home for the first time, we were already hopelessly in love with them. They needed us in order to survive, but it seemed that they did not know who we were. We changed their diapers, fed them, and kept them safe—all the while showing them our love. We did not do all this to manipulate them into loving us or doing things our way. We did it simply because of the deep love we have for them.

God is love. God’s love for us is also not a gimmick to win our love or get us to be good little children who obey his rules. God simply loves us.

Initially we might not recognize our Father or his love. Ultimately, however, we cannot remain passive in this love relationship; we must not remain spiritual babies. We have a responsibility in this relationship to receive God’s love (John 1:12-13) and return that love. Accepting Jesus as the Father’s ultimate expression of love is at the heart of becoming an adopted child of God.

As we begin to grasp the depth and width of God’s love, it becomes virtually impossible for us just to greet God with a blank stare of indifference.

When we begin to understand how tirelessly our Father God loves us, how can we not love him in return?

Father, open my eyes to your love, to the constant presence of your care in my life. May the abundance of your love create in me that same love—for you and for all others around me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Rob Jansons

Rob Jansons is the pastor of New Hope Fellowship in Monroe, Washington, where he has served for almost twenty years. He and his wife, Sue, have been married since 1989 and have three daughters. Rob spends time each year in Calcutta, India, working with a Christian ministry to children living in slums. He enjoys hiking in the Pacific Northwest, camping with his family, reading, writing, and being a pastor.

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