January 17, 2015
READ: 1 John 4:20-5:5
Those who love God must also love their their fellow believers (4:21).
Do you love God? Just think about it. How can a lowly person draw near, much less talk about being in a personal relationship with such a high and exalted Being? It blows my mind. A classic hymn describes God as “immortal, invisible, God only wise, in light inaccessible hid from our eyes.” Perhaps God’s ‘otherness’ explains why we often feel so inadequate in claiming that we love Him.
Yet God loves us and desires that we love Him in return! In 1 John 4:20-5:5, He tells us how we can know if we truly love Him.
Firstly, to claim that we love God isn’t a true demonstration of love. There should be visible actions. Specifically, we’re called to love fellow believers in Him. Love for the unseen God will find expression in love for others whom we can see (4:20), for “everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too” (5:1).
Secondly, we’ll strive to keep God’s commandments without finding them burdensome (5:3). John Piper helps us understand this verse in context. He explains, “The test of the genuineness of your love to the children of God is whether you let the commandments of God govern your relation to them and whether these commandments are burdensome to you.”
Both these tests help us see that loving God and loving people are closely interconnected. If we love Him, we’ll love His people. And the way we love His people will be in conformity with the way He reveals His love to us.
“Do you love me?” Jesus asked Peter by the Sea of Galilee (John 21:15-17). Jesus’ question wasn’t designed to criticise Peter, but to restore him to service. These are encouraging words, for if we’ve faltered like Peter, God still loves us and invites us to love Him as we love His people. —Poh Fang Chia
365-day plan› Genesis 27:1-40
Read John 14:21 and consider what Jesus says is required in our love for Him.
What do your actions towards fellow believers reveal about your love for God? What will it take for you to love them better? To love God better?