“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
God is love. I believe Christianity to be a religion of love. Our two greatest commandments are to love God, and to love each other. Our God is love. We are a religion of love.
Just a few verses before this, the author of 1 John tells us that God is love and that “everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (4:7) Our God is not some far off figure who doesn’t interact with us. Our God is a God who is with us, and any and every person can know God. Anyone and everyone can experience God. Because “God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God and God in them.” (4:16)
But this love does not originate from us. We don’t love God and love others all by ourselves. No, we love because He first loved us.
They say you can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s one of my favorite expressions. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You have to be filled before you can fill others. We are only able to love because of the overflow of love the Father feels for us.
When we try to pour from an empty cup, when we try to love others through sheer force of will and not naturally through the overflow of God’s love for us, then we are not truly loving. We can do good things, loving things, the right things, but if we don’t do them out of love, then they are useless.
That’s why 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
The most important thing, more important than sacrifices and acts of service in our love-centric religion, is, you guessed it, love.
What does it mean that we love because he first loved us? It means in order to give love to others we must accept it in ourselves. We can’t love others until we accept that we are loved. You are loved unconditionally and unceasingly by the one constant in our universe. You will always be loved, no matter what you do. You will always be loved because of who you are, and you are a child of God. Fill that cup.
Have a blessed day