“… let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
1 John 4:7 (NLT)
When I was a little kid I LOVED chocolate cake. When I was in late elementary school I LOVED the show "The Six Million Dollar Man." As a teenager I LOVED hanging out with my friends after football games. In my twenties I LOVED becoming a follower of Jesus Christ and learning all that meant. When I meant Debbie I LOVED her differently than I had ever loved any human being before. When we had our daughters I have LOVED being a dad. All of these things have the same word in common, LOVE. Love is an important aspect of life and impacts us in so many ways. Over my years on this planet my LOVE has changed and grown, and I experience LOVE differently now than when I was a little kid (except for chocolate cake – pretty much the same feelings).
So if we are to speak of living a life of complete joy, we must speak of love. In order to speak of love we need to go ahead and reach a foundational understanding about love. The biblical definition of love is very different than the cultural/worldly definition. The world (Merriam-Webster) defines love as a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person. Culture defines love as a feeling, wherein lies the distinction between the cultural and biblical definition of love. Culture defines love as a feeling, the bible defines love as God. In 1 John 4:8 John writes, “… for God is love.” John does not tell us that God is loving, he tells us God IS love. This means that love is not a feeling we have for God, God is love. God and love cannot be separated, they are one and the same. Love comes from God. When we experience true love we are experiencing God.
Followers of Jesus are called to continue to love one another. It is who we are. Love is one of God’s attributes, which means it is a fundamental, unchanging characteristic of God. God gave us an example of this character in Jesus Christ, the Son. All that Jesus did for us through his life, ministry, death, and resurrection compels us to respond in love. Jesus called us to love God and love our neighbor as evidence of our love for God. When we love, God’s love is made real. The call to love one another is a call to show the world how much God loves them, because God is love. It is a call to reveal God’s love for all to know and experience the love of God and the God of love. This is the third aspect of experiencing a life of complete joy.
This Sunday we conclude the message series “Complete Joy.” We will talk about the joy God desires for us through loving one another. I look forward to sharing more about this with you. I can’t wait to see you in church!