“Permission to speak candidly?” For years, Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples” felt like an obligation to me; the gospel was a heavy load I’d rather keep bundled on my back than to unpack and share. For one thing, telling others what I’d found in Jesus would make me stand out when what I really wanted was to fit in. And to be perfectly honest, though I had come to trust that Jesus had paid the price of my sins and granted me salvation in His name, there remained enough debilitating doubt to muzzle my message. How frustrating!
Seemingly “out of the blue one day,” I decided to begin to read Scripture daily and to journal whatever response it was stirring within me. Mulling things over at the pace of my pen slowed me down and delved me deeper into the riches of God’s truth. He showed up without fail, His Spirit speaking through His word to teach me new things and, in the process, to show me His intimate love. My soul flooded with hope, my spirit streamed in joy, and I began to open myself up completely to Him, the content of my heart pouring out in torrents of blue gel ink onto dry beds of yellow-lined paper. The more I realized God’s love for me, the more freely it burst inner dams of doubt, flowing now to others through witnessing words and compassionate care.
Love begins with God. “This is love,” taught the apostle John, “not that we loved him, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”1 When we acknowledge that Jesus is God’s Son, “God lives in [us] and [we] in God,”2 and so, “In this way, love is made complete among us.”3 “We love because he first loved us.”4
What then does God’s love in us look like? Action, it looks like action. “Freely you have received; freely give,”5 said Jesus to His disciples. “Forgive as the Lord forgives you,” wrote Paul to early believers. And as God’s love pours out in compassion, we too “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”6
God never meant for us to share Him in our own power, for we are neither able nor inclined. Instead, “We know and rely on the love God has for us.”7 For His selfless love is uncontainable; it overflows our hearts in words of life and acts of care.
Father, you are love. Open my heart to your love; may your love for me overflow in my love for others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Christ in me is love.
1 1 John 4:10
2 1 John 4:15
3 1 John 4:12
4 1 John 4:19
5 Matthew 10:8
6 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
7 1 John 4:16
Read John’s live-breathing lesson on love in 1 John 4:10-19.