Journal Entry // November 24, 2022
We love because he first loved us. (ESV)1 John 4:19
The foundation of all that I truly am is found in these seven words. Because Jesus loves me, I can love others. Because Jesus loves me, I can love Him. The implication from these seven words is that without Him first loving me, I am unable to love Jesus or others. My heart was initially dead and hard as stone; unable to truly love anyone other than myself. But God changed all of that with the perfect satisfying love of Jesus. Jesus chose to love me. He chose to love me not because of what I had done or what I would one day do. No, despite my hard and stubborn heart toward his righteous law and commandments, Jesus laid his full attention on me and chose to let the object of his love be directed upon me. A rebellious sinner. He first loved me.
This is important to always have in the forefront of my mind. It is the foundational truth of the gospel that changes everything. Jesus is the initiator in this relationship. His love is not based on my performance. He doesn’t love me because I am a good person or I do great things for the building up of his kingdom. He loves me because he simply loves me. He loves me at all times. He loves me fully and completely. His love is not like my love. My love is easily influenced by my emotions and I can sometimes use my love toward others as a weapon or as a means of seeking approval and satisfaction through someone other than Jesus.
Jesus calls me to something better. He calls me to love others as he loves me. Or more aptly, he calls me to love others through this same gracious and merciful love that he lavishes upon me. My goal in loving others is not to make myself feel better or to gain some sort of satisfaction from them. My goal is to point them to Jesus. My goal is to love them as Jesus loves me. I am to love them because Jesus loves them. The basis and understanding of my love is to be a reflection of Jesus himself.
To do this requires me to understand that Jesus first loves me and loves me completely. Who I am in this life is rooted in the love of Christ for me. My circumstances, my position of influence, my material possessions, my gifts and talents, my knowledge and understanding, my friends and family, my very faith and hope in Christ are all dependent upon Jesus first loving me. His steadfast love for me motivates me to love him by loving others. Because he first loved me, I have freedom. I have freedom from the tyranny of self-righteous pride and arrogance that seeks to only gratify the desires of the flesh. I have the freedom to cast off that sin that clings to me and seek the glorious holy One that is ruling and reigning in heaven and on the earth. I have the freedom to love Jesus… because he first loved me and loves me completely.