you, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness [2 tim 3:10]
love is something we all desire and need. babies desire and need love, children desire and need love, and adults desire and need love.
love, according to the world, is made to terminate on you. love is made to make you happy, to make you satisfied, and when it does not, the world says, “discard this love and go find another that will make you happy.”
love, according to the word, begins with God (1 john 4:7), is extended to us because God is love (I john 4:8), is perfect because God is perfect (1 john 4:17-18). is self-sacrificing because God is self-sacrificing (1 john 4:10), and is unconditional because God is unconditional in his love. (1 john 4:18)
because God’s perfect, self-sacrificing, unconditional love has been given to us through the Christ, we are called to give this love, his love to others. (1 john 4:11) God has not given us a bit of his love, or some of his love, or even a lot of his love. God has richly and extravagantly poured out all his love on us through his Spirit. (ephesians 3:17-18; romans 5:5)
in Christ, you are an unending well of God’s love. but, his love was never meant to terminate on you. his love poured out in you was never meant to be just for you. that is the definition of the world’s love: it just about you and, it begins and ends with you. God’s love grows the more we actively receive and give his love away. we receive it in the Spirit through the work of Christ. we actively receive it every time we read the word and believe God has poured out all his love in us. every time we receive his forgiveness, his mercy, his hope, his truth – we are actively receiving his love.
giving his love away happens every time we help others hear and see that God is love. every time we give his forgiveness, his mercy, his truth, his hope – we are giving his love away.
paul told timothy he had followed paul’s way of love. this wasn’t paul’s love. this was the love of God that he had poured out, given to timothy. now, timothy was giving away God’s love and paul was commending him for this.
you and i are called to give the perfect, self-sacrificing, unconditional love of God away. we are called to be dispensers, not just a well, of his love. give it away. give it away. as you do, expect some who are thirsty for true love to consume this love. in addition, expect some opposition. if you love like Jesus, pouring out the very love of God, some will not understand and even be offended. but to this, we are called.
to whom will you pour out the love of God today? how will you pour out the love of God today? drink in his love today. (go back and look at the verses in 1 john in the paragraph above. receive his love for you!) then, give his love away! give it away! give it away!
LORD, let me receive your love fresh and new today as i taste the mercy i need this morning, the forgiveness i need this morning, and the hope i need this morning. full of your love, let me then give your love away! in Jesus name – amen!
~ john ryan