He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8).
God is love. God is made out of love. All He can do is love. He has been angry with me, and even then He speaks with love dripping from His voice. So if you know God, then you know about love. If you don’t know God, then you know nothing about love. You may make a good partner; you may make a good friend, but you will never make a good lover.
Love completely submits itself to the other person; accepts him or her just exactly as they are. Love never tries to change someone; love is patient with who the person is. Love is never mean; love is gentle, good, kind, thoughtful, giving. Love is never jealous; love cheers others good fortune. Love is never self-serving; love serves others. Love never flaunts itself as if it were better than others; love knows and honors differences without judgment.
The world thinks that what I just said is garbage, that we don’t have to put up with who other people are, not if they are offensive to us in any way. If we consider them rude, then out they go. And we trash them with our mouths because they deserve it!
But that’s not God, nor are those God’s ways. He loves unconditionally. And He loves our love. Remember that He said He makes all things work together for our good, for those who love Him. Tell Him you love Him. Every day. Every night. He loves you ALL THE TIME!
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7).
Ah! This verse and the next one make up one of my favorite songs. I’ll sing it for you next time. For right now, make this your slogan: “I love everybody and everybody loves me.” If you’ll keep repeating this to yourself, it will very quickly become true. It’s so much more fun to love everybody, than it is to keep people at a distance, to be suspicious or critical. It’s so much more fun to know that everybody thinks the best of you to the point that they love you.
Love really is unconditional. Anything less than unconditional isn’t really love, it’s manipulation. I’ll love you if . . . —isn’t love. So stop thinking about whether you measure up, or whether the other person measures up, and just enjoy each person for who they are. After all, God sent them to the earth to be a gift. So open your present and be delighted! When you love like that, you and God are truly united.
We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:6).
People who are born again are those who are of God and who know God. Now, if we know God, we know each other. There is a recognizable identity. One time, while I sat at a table in a coffee shop, drinking coffee and reading a book, a gentleman came to my table and said, “My wife and I were noticing that you are a Christian. We’d like to have you join us and talk awhile.” I did, and we formed a fast relationship. I was just reading a book; how did they notice I was a Christian? We can identify the spirit of God in one another. Another time, in a restaurant a woman walked through the front door, and I knew she was a Christian. How did I know? I don’t know how to answer that. I just knew. I stopped by her table on the way out of the restaurant and asked, and she said, “Oh, yes, honey. Jesus is my Lord.”
We do hear each other. We do know the spirit of truth and we can recognize the spirit of error. Thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph!
They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them (1 John 4:5).
There is such an enormous gulf between the world and the Kingdom of God, which is the spiritual world. That gulf is not noticeable to the physical eye; it can only be seen by the spiritual eye. The people in the world have only their reason to live by, whereas people who are right now citizens of heaven, due to their new birth in Christ, have God the Father hovering over them to meet their every need with His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. They have the Holy Spirit giving them counsel and direction, helping them make sound decisions that will benefit them, now and/or later. They have Jesus Christ making intercession for them after having given His blood and His body to redeem them—to pay for their sins, and their sicknesses—as well as giving them Agape love, or the God kind of life.
Whatever you do, don’t listen to the world. They will give you bad advice; even what the great sages have to say will never work, unless of course they belong to Jesus. For instance, the Bible instructs us to pray for our leaders, our presidents, heads of state, etc. However, to listen to the world, who speak constantly about politics, they would eat our leaders for lunch if they could find a restaurant that would serve up human flesh! The only way God can break through to these heads of state is if we pray. Prayer gives God permission to operate in the earthly realm. So if we want changes made in our governments, we’d better get on our knees and pray, and not rip our leaders to shreds with our words. Words work: good and bad.