The Love “Test”

If you ask Google the question, “Why is love important?” you will find pages of answers.

One Internet article answered like this: “Love is important because it’s the foundation of all the other emotions we feel in relationships. The lack of love can be the source of the negative emotions we feel.”

Another answer from the same article said, “When you are in a loving relationship, you feel as though you have someone by your side. Confronting the future is easier when you have someone to do it with.”

A discussion about love can be strange. Love is viewed as the supreme virtue, but hate, greed, and lust often dominate the public space.

According to John, love is an essential quality that should characterize Jesus’ followers.

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard.

Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining (1 John 2.7-8).

A wholehearted love of God is the ultimate expression of our relationship with him.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6.5).

Another familiar admonition states, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19.18).

Jesus concluded this about the two, “There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12.31).

People who read John’s letter know these two commandments to be “old” information. Anyone who has knowledge of the Bible should consider love to be the ultimate value.

What is “new” is that the crucifixion, resurrection, and gift of the Holy Spirit make it possible for humans to live in love like never before.

The fruit of a relationship with the Holy Spirit is first of all love (Galatians 5.22).

Easier said than done.

Anyone who has attempted to love God and other people with a Jesus-kind-of-love knows how hard it is.

John takes the message of love out of the realm of greeting cards, candy, and flowers and locates it in the realm of real-world relationships.

Whoever says, “I am in the light,” while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness.

Whoever loves a brother or sister abides in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling.

But whoever hates a brother or sister is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness (1 John 2.9-11).

I can’t imagine a tyrant saying, “I’m a murderous, evil, greedy, self-centered, hardhearted human.” These murderous rulers are often shown hugging grandmothers and pretending to be loving servants of their nation.

The kind of ruler I have pictured is an exaggeration of a reality that most of us face. We want to be seen as loving followers of God, but harbor resentment, unforgiveness, and petty self-centered attitudes.

John cuts through the fog of our beliefs and reveals how the darkness of resentment and unforgiveness blinds us to the light.

As followers of Jesus, we must work to live in the light and love of Jesus. As we cultivate our relationship with Jesus, he will enable us to conquer broken relationships with love.

When we have been wronged, we need to work the with Holy Spirit to rid ourselves of attitudes that lead to hatred.

My Alcoholics Anonymous friends end their meetings with “It works if you work it.” Let’s work on our friendship with Jesus and see what he does.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I continue our study of 1 John today. Our video can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s