I wish I had counted the number of people who approached our son simply to say “thank you.” Completing his MBA studies, Matthew was honored to speak at his pre-commencement ceremony. He warmly recalled the shared closeness among his classmates and the care they exhibited toward each other. Then he offered his friends three charges, the first of which was this: find the source of your love. “We cannot give and give indefinitely without having a source from which we receive love; we will burn out. My source of love comes from my faith—I follow Jesus Christ who loves me so much that he died for me even though I do not deserve it. That is a source that will never run dry.” Matthew did not anticipate the applause that followed, and his parents were struck by the appreciation expressed by both friends and strangers later at the reception. His comments had found their home in welcoming souls that day.
It was Jesus’ friend, John, who taught of our union with God in Christ, the most loving provision of Him who is love by His very essence. “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,” wrote the apostle, “God lives in him and he in God.” This is the heart of God toward us, evidenced through the Spirit of God within us. How could we become any closer to Him, or He to us? What could He possibly do that would be any more loving than to unite us with Himself in Spirit?
We marvel at God’s promises—in this case, the assurance of His Spirit alive in us—yet truth always travels with a companion command, an imperative, a call to respond. John continued, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” For as God loves us and unites us to Himself, so we are called to love others as ourselves. Truth be told, however, on our own, we’re not all that good at loving others, for our human nature falls far short of the nature of God. So John says to us “know and rely.” To which I say, thank you, John. For when I simply accept God’s love for me, I experience an inner freedom: the onetime pressure to love gives way to a newfound desire to love, and what I once considered a demanding obligation to love becomes a welcome opportunity to love.
Recalling Christ Jesus before him, John says, “love one another.” Relying on Christ Jesus within him, John says, “We love because he first loved us.”
Yes, Matthew, He is, indeed, our source.
Father, grace me to know your love—to accept and experience it in faith—and to rely on your love as, living in the Spirit of Christ, I engage the world today. Amen.
[Click here to read 1 John 4:7-21, John’s insights into true love.]