Being loved and loving another are subjects of some of the most famous authors, musicians and artists in history. It a subject that we humans never get tired of hearing and telling. Their works cover the many different meanings of “love” because the word “love” can be used in so many ways: “I love chocolate”, “I love you”, “I love my friends”, “I love puzzles”, “I love my sister” and “I love my life”. God wrote about love a lot too in his book: The Bible. 1 John 4:1-21 is one of the greatest “love” chapters in the Bible. What sort of love is highlighted in 1 John?
The Greek word for “love” used in 1 John is “agape”. This roughly translates to selfless, unconditional love. This is the type of love, among all the various types of loves, that is the most satisfying. Its what we’re all truly searching for. Other types of love simply fall short. Romantic love fades; erotic love is fleeting; greedy and possessive love, like the love of money, does not make you happy and certainly doesn’t love you back. We want that kind of love that loves us no matter what; loves us despite ourselves. Warts, imperfections and all. How do we get it and where do we look?
1 John gives us a roadmap where to look. We start by seeking the truth of the scriptures. Seek out those things that come from Jesus; that reveal that he made himself man and became one of us. Avoid the false gods that inevitably come along in this life. If you think your happiness will be achieved by chasing after financial comfort, status, a different gender or a romantic connection – you are not seeking the truth; not seeking the one true God. All those types of love will disappoint.
The most amazing thing about your search for this love is that your effort doesn’t matter. There’s nothing you must do to find or earn it. God brings it to you. He does the seeking – for you. He finds. God does it all. We aren’t required to be worthy of His amazing love. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done. God and His love will meet you where you are at any point in your life. Once you accept His love, you’re encouraged to share it with others. That can be a tall task. To love the unlovable. Those who don’t love you back, who don’t meet your expectations or outright disappoint you. Loving those who are very different from you or even hate you. That’s what God does, and He calls you to do the same. But in so loving others, you are fighting your own sinful self. You can be a contrast to what is otherwise a world corrupted by sin, fear and twisted gods seeking to draw others away from God and His unbelievable love.