1 John 4:16b-17 (NIV): God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
Love is God’s predominant characteristic, and defines all of His other traits. But this love is not love as the world knows it. The love that is God is not an emotion, although there is an emotional element to it. It is not about desire, although there is a wanting of relationship with those He loves. Instead, God’s love is focused on those He loves, desiring the absolute best for them, both now and for all eternity; and desiring that best so deeply, so strongly, that He will give whatever of Himself, even His very life, to get that best for them. When God loves someone, it’s not about Him, how he feels, or how He will benefit from the relationship. It is always about the other.
God’s people are to show forth that same other-centered, self-sacrificing love to the rest of the world. It is to characterize our lives, just as it does God’s. It is to motivate our every action, just as it does His. It is to be the defining characteristic of our being, just as it is with Him, to the point where people who know us will say without hesitation, “John is love,” or “Amelia is love.” God’s people are to be like Him principally in this way. If this foundational resemblance of love has been worked into our lives and hearts by His Spirit, then all the rest, true holiness, power, grace, strength, wisdom, peace, joy, mercy, and all the rest will follow naturally.
Father, thank You for Your love that led You to give Jesus to die for our sins, for MY sins. Thank You for the love that moved You to seek and to save me when I was so lost. Thank You for Your love that gave me hope and a forever future with You at such great cost to You. Now, Lord, please work all of that love back through me, so that it penetrates and permeates every fiber of my being. Make Your love become the controlling, defining characteristic of my life, so that I am just like You in this world. Amen.