Have you ever wondered what a life without love would be like? Are you curious as to what the world would be like without the power of love?
To be honest, I’ve never given either of those questions much thought. You could say that I merely take love for granted.
Really, I don’t want to imagine a life without love or a world without the love of God. Such curious daydreaming would be too dark and depressing.
Tina Turner sang, “What’s love got to do, got to do with it?!” Biblically, we can attest that love is more than a second-hand emotion and its absence is about more than a broken heart.
John, the son of Zebedee, was divinely inspired when he wrote: “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Knowing how he started out, it is incredible grace that enabled John to grasp the love of God. He and his brother James were nicknamed the Sons of Thunder, by Jesus. Apparently, the Lord saw their inner rage and appropriately called them out.
However, students of the Bible recognize that this Son of Thunder became the Apostle of Love. How could such a transformation take place for John?
It is only because He had a personal relationship with God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus became John’s first love, and that love began to permeate his whole life.
This doesn’t mean that John never got mad or that he never made an unpopular decision. In fact, because of his first love, John developed the ability to sternly deal with problematic people in the Early Church.
Loving God and loving others was, in fact, the way of life for John, the Beloved. He would go so far as to describe himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 19:26). And the word love (or loved) appears about 80 times in John’s New Testament writings.
One of my favorite passages that John wrote is found in 1 John 4:7-11.
“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. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Without the love of God that John experienced, I imagine that he would have become a bitter old man and died a miserable death. But oh what a difference love makes!
Such amazing love makes me want to sing and shout. But since this is a writing blog and not a listening podcast, I’ll share some beautiful lyrics for your eyes to feast upon.
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
John’s writings throughout Scripture clearly teach that our behavior is the most significant indicator of what we truly believe.
Having a first-love relationship with God made a miraculous difference for John.
Christian, it’s time for you to walk in the love of God that you profess. In deed, let Jesus be Lord of your life and make loving others your priority today.
Are you in a first-love relationship with God Almighty through His Son, Jesus Christ? Have you been miraculously changed by His love?