Read: 1 John 4:7-21
Consider: The apostle John’s first letter was written to remind a group of believers about the basis of the faith that had been shared with them. In 1 John 1:1 he reminds them that their faith is based on facts; what the apostle and others had ‘heard’, ‘seen’, ‘looked at’ and ‘touched’.
Having set out that the believers could have confidence in what they had been told concerning Jesus, the apostle sets out the basis of a practical Christian life in terms of everyday action. In chapter 2:15-17 he tells them not to love the world, while in chapter 3:11-24 he tells them to love one another. John anticipates their question ‘What is love?’ by answering it in chapter 3:16 as follows: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
You would think that having used the example of love found in Jesus’ sacrificial death, there would be no more to say on the matter of love. John, however, returns to it in today’s reading in chapter 4. In 1 John 4:7-21 we read that:
Love comes from God (v7);
Love is a natural expression of faith in God (v7-8);
God expressed his love for us in sending Jesus to free us from sin and to give us live (v9-10);
God loved us, even though we did not love him (v10);
We ought to love one another because God so loved us (v11).
What should love look like amongst Christians and between Christians and the wider community? Taking the example of Jesus (v16), it means that Christian love should be sacrificial and selfless. As Christ’s death was for the sins of all the world (John 3:16), so our love not not be restricted purely to our Christian brothers and sisters.
We have to recognise that in the present health crisis our natural inclination will be to protect our families and ourselves. This is where God’s strength is needed to enable us to express love for others in ways that are an example to the world. Remember that an act of kindness on our part, can be the catalyst that is needed to overcome the greed and self-interest that has currently risen to the surface in society.
Pray: Father, help us to love sacrifically when we see need. May your church be a shining example in the world at this time. Amen