7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other....God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.
Love is the highest and most important calling that we have as Christians. We are supposed to be set apart and recognizable as Christians by the way we love. This word "love" is easy to throw around. We say "I love coffee, I love my dog, I love my family, I love God" Well, those are all very different types of "love." I love me some brownies, but that is not the same way I love my husband or my kids. At least, I'd like to believe that it's a different kind of love. Is that how my family feels though? Do my kids feel like I love them more then brownies? Do I treat my husband in a way that makes him feel and know that I love him? God's love is perfect, in fact- God is love! The verses above tell us that if we love God then we must also love one another. It goes hand in hand. We can't say we love God and then decide that we don't want to love God's children.
I want you to take a look at your life and think about how you are doing at this whole love thing. Are you treating those around you with love? Are you loving your family, are you loving your enemy? There are some people out there that we come in contact with that can be very difficult to love. Have you even thought about trying to love them?
As some of you may know, I started leading a new study today called Loving Well, by Beth Moore. There is still time to join in! But for those of you who can't join us, I would just like you to know that I am praying for you. I will share with you bits of what we are learning as we go. She talked today about the different types of people we are called to love. The ones who are a JOY to love, the ones who she calls "TESTY" who drive you crazy an make love a bit more difficult, the "FOE" who would be your enemy or the one you may even go so far as to say that you hate, and the "FAR" who are the strangers and people that are not even on your radar. Try to picture all of those people and who they are in your life. I think that sometimes the ones who are a joy to love can also fall in to the testy category. Family especially can test your ability to love and give of yourself at times.
God loves us unconditionally and perfectly. Take a minute to soak that in and really allow yourself to feel God's love wash over you. Do you really believe that He loves you? No matter what. Period! There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. Once you truly accept that God loves you no matter what, no matter how many times you mess up, it makes it easier to share that love with others.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”