1 John 4:16b-21 (CEB)

God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them. 17 This is how love has been perfected in us, so that we can have confidence on the Judgment Day, because we are exactly the same as God is in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love because God first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God” and hate their brothers or sisters are liars. After all, those who don’t love their brothers or sisters whom they have seen can hardly love God whom they have not seen! 21 This commandment we have from him: Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also.


I love this text.

I love the declaration that “GOD IS LOVE”. I love the idea that remaining in love is to remain in God. I love that it is love that makes us like God. I love that love drives out fear. I love that our love is a response to God’s love. And I love that to love God means to love others.

God is at God’s most palpable where love is. The times in my life when I felt the closest to God were times where love was easy to identify. It doesn’t mean all those were good times, though. I felt God in the love others offered me after the death of a loved one. I felt God when I was scared and someone offered me a supportive hug. I felt God when someone sent me an encouraging card or text when I needed it most. When we encourage love to be the prevailing emotion, we invite God into our lives and into the lives of others. It is the ultimate form of evangelism, of witnessing to the Gospel. Many go about their day to day seeking love from those they come in contact with through being seen, heard, empathized with, recognized, and encouraged. The best thing we can do today to share the message of Christ and to make disciples as we are called to do is to love people as they are and where they are today because that is what God does.

If we want to claim to love God, then we have to love our neighbor.

by Rachel Callender

For Pondering & Prayer

Think back to the times when you felt closest to God – was love also close by? Did someone offer you love even in dark times or did you feel love towards someone even when amidst turmoil?

Prayer: Lord of love, empty us of our judgement and fill us with Your love so that those who feel forgotten may feel the love You have created them to have. Use us as a vehicle for your love. Amen.