We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).
This truth has been hitting me lately. He loved us FIRST. Before we ever thought of seeking him, he sought us. Before we ever had the smallest desire to begin walking after the truth, he drew us. We love because he first loved us.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10).
That's what love is: GOD'S LOVE. It is easy to think about how we love him and how we want to love him more and how we want to love him with all of our hearts. But let's remember that his love is everything.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him (1 John 4:16).
Do I? Do you? Do we really put our confidence, reliance, trust, faith in the love God has for us? If so, we will be able to live in love; God himself will be living in us. His love will be made manifest among us. This is supernatural and beyond anything that anyone can "work up".
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them-yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me (1 Cor 15:10).
Oh, let us get a glimpse of God's grace--the pleasure he takes in us, the delight he has in us, his favor upon us, his love for us! If we RECEIVE that grace, it will have an effect on us... a powerful effect on us. We will no longer be the same. We will walk in the light as he is in the light. Our love will abound.
Love is a fruit of the Spirit. It is the result of his favor and his love being realized within us. Let us KNOW and RELY on the love he has for us. Take the time to consider him. Take the time to ponder his love for you. Think about his gracious hand upon you many times from the time you were a baby until now. Think about his loving, drawing hand that has chosen you to know the Gospel that had been hidden for ages, but revealed TO YOU. Think of the many billions of people who clearly do not have God's favor upon them as much as it is upon you. Think of how "lucky" you are to be confronted with the Holy One of Israel.... and then remember that there is no "luck".... it is God's choice. He has done this because of his great affection for you. An affection you didn't earn. Receive it. Let it be effectual in you.
You'll never be the same.
"The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you... KNOW therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands..." (Deut 7:7-9).
He is WORTHY!