About knowing God

James N. Watkins

Many people spend their lives, as the old song goes, “Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.” So, how do we find real, lasting love?

Love comes from God

    Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God (1 John 4:7a NIV).

Many people think that God is only interested in rules. But God is all about love. Jesus, God the Son, reminds us of the most important “rule”:

    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).

“Okay,” we say. “That sounds good.” But we seem powerless to love like that.

    Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also (1 John 4:20-21 NRSV).

The power to love comes from God

    Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:7b-10).

Anything that we have done that is not loving separates us from a loving God. We don’t have to murder or commit armed robbery to “sin.” Sin is simply breaking God’s commandment to fully love Him and others.

    If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).

But His only Son, Jesus Christ, died and rose again to “atone” for our unloving behavior (1 John 2:1-2). Atone means to make “at-one.” When we confess our lack of love (sin) and believe that Christ has died and risen for our sin, we are forgiven and are “at one” with God and His love (1 John 1:9).

    God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God (1 John 4:15).

The power to love unselfishly comes from God

Love from God is not earned—it is a free gift—but it is also learned.

    No one has ever seen God; but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:12).

We get to know God and His love better through reading his love letter (the Bible), talking to Him (prayer), and being with those who also love Him (the church). And the better we know God, the easier it is for us to obey his commandment to love Him and others.

    This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God has overcome the world [of hate] (1 John 5:3).

If you’d like to know more about God and His great love, please feel free to e-mail me at jim@jameswatkins.com

Copyright © 1990 James N. Watkins. All rights reserved.

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