God is love 1 Jn 4:8

Probably one of the most oft-quoted verses from the bible. Yet, this is a fundamental attribute of God. Along with his holiness and grace, he is love. If he were not, our lives would be very different.

How do we know 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 Jn 4:9,10

For God did not have to send his Son into the world, for the world had turned against him, it had sinned against him. He rightly had the option to punish us without any argument. His justice demanded punishment for sin. Yet, he loved us so much he gave us his Son who willingly took our punishment in our place.

Just as God is love, those who know him should love. For God’s Spirit works in us, enabling us to love, not out of duty, but because God loves us.

This love is shown in our love for one another and others. If we do not love each other, how can we say we love? If we do not love, how can we say we know God? Just as out of love, God saw that we needed salvation from sin, we must seek to address each other’s needs.

Through loving others, our love will be purified, and change from glory into glory, that God love may be complete in us.

The Israelites had been given the land of Canaan by God, yet they had not taken possession of it. In a similar way, there are many times in our lives when God gives us an opportunity to take something, but we fail to take it. It is effectively ours, yet if we don’t take it, we lose it.

Of course, we need to know when God is giving us something. We cannot just decide what God is giving us merely on a whim. He has given us his word to direct us, with many promises. If an opportunity arises and it doesn’t conflict with the bible, we must consider carefully and pray about it.

This is not to say we merely pray and do nothing. The biblical attitude to prayer is to pray and be prepared to act. Fatalism is not an option. Laziness is not an option.

For God offers us so much more than the world can offer. It can be so easy to fall into a rut, to become too comfortable in a position which was only supposed to be temporary. To stay in the relative safety of what we know instead of stepping out and trusting God.