Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (1 John 4:11)
Almost immediately, I think to myself, I am not God! There are things that God can do that I cannot do!
I mean, I cannot create life, cause it to rain, or snow. I cannot be everywhere. I do not know everything. So, it should follow that I cannot love like Him, either.
And the moment I think that, I say to myself, “Just stop, already! God knows you are not Him, and He never asks you to do a single thing that is not within your ability to perform or that He will not enable you to do. So just quit.”
The truth is, I don’t always want to love everybody. Sometimes I want to, but I don’t pursue that. Why? Because loving everybody means that I must get outside of myself, my selfishness, my wants, my desires, myself (yes, I said it twice for emphasis) in order to be Godlike. Godliness is what God is seeking in my life. It is something that comes with the indwelling of His Spirit. Yes, I know. I just don’t want to.
Then, I think of the words of this Scripture again. “Beloved.” I can imagine John gently speaking the words, because when we call someone “Beloved” there is tenderness in the voice. You feel it when you read it, at least, I do. It’s like a gentle, pleading tone: “My precious ones, don’t you understand? Don’t you get it?” If GOD so loved us…” Well, what is the ‘if God so loved us” about? Maybe that's the problem--I don't understand the "if God" part.
The preceding verses (7-10) tell me. “…let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
In another translation it says it this way: Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. (1 John 4:11 NLT)
Oh, boy! Big sigh.
If God loved me this way, then I should love others in the same way—with the love that comes from the God who selflessly gave me His Son. Gave Him to die for me while I were still sinning, while we were still enemies. How hard could it have been for Him? How hard do I have to make it? If the Spirit of God lives in me, He is the enabler. He works in me to will and to DO the things God asks of me.
So, time to get over myself and surrender my will to the one who is love. Love one another in the way God loved the world. Love others. Period. Prayer: Father, whenever I think it is hard to love someone that You love so much that You sent Your only Son to die for, help me remember how much You love me. Help me remember what loving me cost You and willingly seek to love as You do.