1 John 4:7-21. Verse 19 – We love because he first loved us.
When my wife and I brought home our children for the first time we were already completely in love with them. We knew they needed us in order to survive, but I am pretty sure they did not have an idea of 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.
Much like little babies we might not recognize our Father or his love. Ultimately, however, we cannot remain unresponsive 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.