I then walked to the bathroom and threw up.
It’s partly because it wasn’t just some sweet nothing that people in a relationship say to each other when their hearts go pitter-patter. We had decided when we started dating that James would be the one to say, “I love you” first and that he would say it when he felt confident I was the one he wanted to marry.
So, “I love you” really meant, “I’m committed to you and to our relationship. This isn’t casual dating; it’s getting ready for marriage.”
Hence, my reaction.
Now, we’re just two days away from our 12th anniversary and “I love you” is something we say all the time. In fact, I often stop and think about what I’ve just said or heard when we hang up the phone or kiss goodbye in the rush of the morning. I want to make sure the significance isn’t lost in the banalities of life or the commonness of overuse.
I love you.
That means I’m committed to you and to us. I care about you because of who you are and not what you do. Whatever we’re facing in life, we’re doing this together.
We all need a reminder at times of what love really means because we take it for granted too often. Or, perhaps, we need the reminder that we’re loved because sometimes we just don’t feel it’s true.
That’s why the last person I’d choose for my Spiritual Dream Team is someone who always reminds us of God’s love—the apostle John.
We also need someone to remind us all the time that we are loved. Fully, truly loved. Known intimately, through and through, but loved just the same. Loved so greatly that nothing we can do can alter God’s affection for us. Passionately loved with such intensity that Jesus would die just for us.
Job Posting #3: John
- Must remind us on the tough days and in the moments when we don’t feel it’s true that God loves us.
- Must spur us on to love one another with more grace so we can be a living example of God’s love in the world.
John couldn’t forget that God loved him. Jesus had chosen John for his inner circle of three intimate disciples. At the Last Supper, John had actually leaned against Jesus. He was the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (John 13). Jesus thought so highly of John, that He entrusted His mother into John’s care as He died on the cross (John 19:26-27).
It’s no surprise, then, that John’s primary message in his writings is that God loves us and that we should love others.
God’s love was John’s consistent theme. He wrote:
- “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).
- “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 John 4:10).
- “God is love . . . We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:16, 19).
God didn’t just love us; He loved us first and He loved us sacrificially.
In his book, 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart, Robert Morgan wrote about one of John’s most famous statements of all:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)
According to Morgan, when the great evangelist D.L. Moody heard a fresh young preacher named Henry Moorehouse speak on John 3:16, he said, “I never knew up to that time that God loved us so much. This heart of mine began to thaw out, and I could not keep back the tears. It was like news from a far country. I just drank it in” (p. 53).
We can’t take such extravagant love for granted. We can’t depersonalize it and assume that although God loved the world, He doesn’t necessarily love us–you and me—personally and passionately.
We need someone to remind us during stress, fear, trial, and even in the midst of the mundane that God’s love for us never fails.
But John doesn’t stop there. He says, God loves you . . .so, love one another.
It’s a natural progression.
We all have the opportunity to be the physical, tangible reminders of God’s love in a world starving for His affection.
John tells us: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
Yes, he says, “You who are loved, love others.”
How can you show God’s love to others today?
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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King