Love as a Way of Life
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)
The centrality of love lies at the heart of the Christian message – at least as Lutherans understand it. Love is the nature of the divine. When asked to define God, John even goes as far as to say that God IS love. The two are inseparable and where there is love, God is present and working. Do you want to know what God looks like? Watch wherever you see love present and you will get a little glimpse of God.
But the verse above does not stop with God’s love and being content with the fact that love is from God. The real calling for people who have encountered this love in Jesus is the call to love others. To meet the God of love is to encounter the love that birthed the universe and to stand in the presence of the one of provides, shapes and sustains all life. That changes us. We are not the same as we were before. In many ways that best sign of God’s presence in people’s lives is not the accuracy of their doctrine. It is the nature of their life.
Developing a way of life that is grounded in love is one way to think about being a disciple. How shall we live in the light of Christ? Who are we to be and what are we to do? John’s message in the verse above relies in the belief that we receive new life in Christ and calls us to be intentional about how we love. Love is not a feeling we feel toward someone special. This love is an action and a choice to care for others the way Jesus has cared for us.
How are you doing at this? Reflect on your life a bit and ask how you spend your time; is it devoted to being sure you help others? How are you spending your money; is it grounded in generosity? How are you attending to God’s creation; are you a good steward who will leave soft footprints where you have been? These and other questions can help us reflect on the love we have received from Jesus and how that love has given new life to us and those we meet.