Wednesday, December 13

1 John 4:16-21

16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love[a] because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters,[b] are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister[c] whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters[d] also.

Reflection

Perfect love. We long for it. We dream of it. Falling in love . . . our wedding day . . . gazing at our newborn baby . . . it sometimes feels like the absolute perfect love. But no . . . there is nothing quite like God’s perfect love.

God doesn’t just love us. He is love. And we have God’s perfect love in us. As Christians, we are called to live in this love.

Along with the word “love” that we hear over and over in today’s reading from 1 John, several other words stand out. These words feel like a warm blanket wrapped tightly around us.

These words — complete — confidence. God’s love is made complete in us when we love others. To love God is to truly love others. When we don’t love our brothers and sisters, we are not truly loving God. How are you at loving others?

These words — no fear — perfect. We are made perfect in love when we do not fear. To love others without fear then draws us closer to God. No experience, persecution, death, or other fearful event should bring us to fear. It is in these times that we should feel His perfect love and feel a special closeness to Him. None of these difficult things should keep us from God’s love. His love never fails.

Feel His blanket around you. Feel His perfect love, no matter what. Then, get out there and love others.

Prayer

Lord, remind me that Your perfect love lies within me. Help me to seek You instead of fear, to love others as You love me, and to feel Your loving arms around me every moment of every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Written by Alicia Huntley Director of Small Group Ministries ahuntley@stjohns-springfield.org