"By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers." 1 John 3:16
"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
these words are probably familiar to us. we hear them often, and it is easy to breeze past them. at first look, we may say these verses are a reminder that God has loved us, and a command to love others. this is true, but these verses tell us so much more.
we are told to love one another & to think of others as greater than ourselves, but how often do we find this to be difficult or even impossible? what do we do when we can't seem to love those around us? how do we give of ourselves to others, even to those we've never met? do we search within ourselves to find this selfless love? do we wait for those around us to deserve our service and kindness?
no, our loving Father does not call us to love only those who deserve it. take another look at the verses above. Our gracious Lord provides us with everything we need to lay down our lives for others. He has loved us while we were unlovely. He pursued us while we were ugly and helpless. He rescued us while we were lonely and afraid, living in darkness by our own choice. His love for His children us unfathomable - and it humbles us. When we see how unworthy we are, and yet we are loved, we begin to see that all we have is grace. we have not earned any good thing, but it has all been given to us from a good Father. the rest of the world has not deserved this love either, but God still gives it. we are able to know His love. we are able to love others, because Christ has loved us. He provides us with all that we need to give of ourselves for another, even while they are sinning against us.
when we remember our own love story with the Creator, we are able to share that story with others. when we become frustrated at our families, we can think on the grace that has been given us, and extend that same grace to them. when we are hurt by our friends, we can remember the forgiveness we have received, and become a channel for that forgiveness to go to them. when we become angry with our coworkers, we can ponder the loving pursuit of Jesus, and render that same loving kindness onto them. we can give sacrificially to those across the globe because we will remember that God sacrificed His beloved Son on behalf of all the nations.
God has divinely supplied all that we lack to do what He has commanded us. we can give because He has given to us.
i encourage you to rest in His love this Christmas season.