Bible Reading: 1 John 4:7-19, NKJV
Anybody with a TV has likely stumbled upon reality television: reality survival, reality jobs, reality living and reality love. The funny thing, of course, is that there’s often very little reality in these programs. They’re usually highly scripted productions meant to entertain, educate, market or further an agenda.
The problem is that the content being pushed as “reality” tends to offer a skewed view of the world.
There is a source that presents an authentic description of love, but it certainly isn’t a primetime show with roses and multiple contestants. Instead, I’m referring to the Bible, and 1 John 4:7-19 gives a wonderful and true picture of real love.
The Source: Verses 7-8 show us the source of true love. It comes from God and Him alone. You cannot manufacture love, recycle it or even copy it. True love is only of God, because by nature God is love. Therefore, love is something we cannot experience apart from God.
The Example: A reality star dropping to one knee in proposal is not the example of true love. Rather, true love is demonstrated by God in that He gave us His only Son (verses 9-11). Verse 10 states it very clear: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die on a cross so that we might live forever with Him. That’s true love!
The Experience: Most individuals want to love and to be loved. It’s a natural yearning within us. Verses 12-13 show that true love indwells the believer in the form of the Holy Spirit. If you want to experience what true love is all about, you must have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you.
Our Response: Similarly, verses 14-16 make it clear that real love demands a response. John encourages us to respond to God’s love by believing in and confessing Him as Lord. When we do that, God Himself will abide in us so that we can experience true love.
The Outcome: First, the love of Christ makes us complete. The “love” that the world gives leaves us searching and wanting. We search for fulfilment in philanthropy, education, sex, drugs or money, but it doesn’t make us complete. Verse 17, on the other hand, says, “Love has been perfected among us in this …”
Second, knowing true love will give us boldness both in this world, and as we stand before God when entering eternity. Verse 18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
Because of God’s true love for us, we don’t have to fear His judgement, or—for that matter—other people, losing a loved one, or losing a job. Fear is driven away as our eyes are fixed on the One who gave His life for us.
My friends, the world may have a confused understanding of love, but we—as children of God—understand true love. In a world filled with hate and anger, we must share that love with others.
John 13:35 says, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Let’s live in such a way that people will recognise us by the love we have for one another, recognise we’re different, and see the love of Christ in and through us.
Learn more about Christ’s love for you at PeaceWithGod.org.uk
Scripture Reference: 1 John 4:7-19
Knowing God Through Love
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Seeing God Through Love
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world.
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
The Consummation of Love
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as He is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
19 We love Him because He first loved us.