Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.—1 John 4:7-8
One of the things I appreciate about my friend Bob Goff—whom I call my friend because I’m among the thousands of readers to whom he has responded, and he told me “the world needs your words”—is the simplicity of his theology. He doesn’t try to capture the enormity and mind-blowing incomprehensibility of God. For him, love is of God, and God is love.
But love itself is an enigma. It has become one of the most nebulous and overused words in our vocabularies. We love a favorite food; we love an image we have just seen; we love having certain experiences; we love the people closest to us. Yet none of these feelings, all described as love, is on equal footing. Our efforts to express ourselves are inadequate.
Love is of God. God is love. What does that kind of love look like? If God is holy and God is love, then love is pure. It is not a carnal love based on lust. It has no agenda except to cultivate more love. It is faithful and true, just as He is faithful and true.
If God is the incarnate Word and God is love, then love is selfless. It is willing to give up comfort, just as Jesus left behind the glory of heaven, to meet people where they are. It gives. It does.
If God is the Father and God is love, then love is steadfast and strong. Love smiles proudly upon us, and love seeks to teach us what is right and good. It is present. Love equips us for the challenges ahead and cheers us on in our in victories. It speaks truth into our hearts when we most need it.
If God is infinite and God is love, then love is unconditional. It cannot be expended. It cannot be lost. It has no expiration date, so it never goes sour. It endures forever.
If God is Jesus and God is love, then love is sacrificial. It dies to itself and covers a multitude of sins. As it is rejected and vilified, it offers forgiveness. It is an eternal well of hope and grace.
If God is just and God is love, love is righteous. Love fights for what is good. Love stands beside you at your worst and still sees you for your best. Love is a defender of the weak and an extended hand to the downtrodden.
If God is the Holy Spirit and God is love, then love is our comforter in our darkest moments and our counselor in our wanderings. Love never leaves or forsakes us. It is unmoving and unchanging.
If God is merciful and God is love, then love is patient and kind. It spares us the judgment and the scorning we deserve. It gets us second chances when no one else will. It accepts us even when we don’t accept ourselves.
This is a limited picture of the love we have from God in Christ Jesus and the love we can give through Him. As His image-bearers, we should be known by His love so that even when we’re hard pressed, love oozes out. Now go love on somebody so they will not see you but the Jesus in you.
By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.—John 13:35