Devotions

1 John 4 • Devotion #3: Image Bearers

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have 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. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:7-12

Love. It is a concept that is all over our culture today. As humans, we constantly get it wrong. As Christians, we constantly get it wrong. The Bible uses the word love over 400 times. So maybe it is something we should pay attention to and get it right. I hear your inner thoughts, “I love my people well,” and “I love my neighbor.” I hear you, but I have also seen your social media posts, your attitude at restaurants, and your ranting over politics (this is where I would insert the wide side-eye emoji if I could. LOL).

So can we pause for a minute and look at what the Bible says about love? John has a lot to say about it in 1 John chapter 4. Verse 11 says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” It seems pretty simple; God loves us, so we love other people. Why is it so difficult to actually do this? Is it because we do not really understand where love originates from? 

Verses 9-10 say, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” We should love not simply because we love God, but because He loved us so much He sent his Son. That is what verse 11 is saying. Our ability to love is born out of gratefulness for what God has done for us. I read a quote from a commentary that I thought was perfect, “Love is manifested in us because of what was done on the cross.” 

We are all image-bearers of a God who gave up His only Son to die for all of us, not just the conservatives, a specific race, or a specific gender. He died for all. Our love should reflect that. Preach the Gospel and love people because the cross demands it. 

We need to challenge ourselves. Next time we get irritated, angry, or prideful, we will remember the cross and the love it took for God to send His only Son. View people through that lens, an image-bearer whom God sent His Son to die for. I think it may radically change our perspective and our actions. We need to pray that our actions and words honor and reflect the love it took for the cross to happen. 



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