I John 3:23 “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”
When I was a teenager – long before I met my husband – I had a habit. An addiction, really. I was addicted to being “in love.” I really wasn’t that picky about the objects of my affection; they seemed to change weekly, and ranged from the boy a few years older than me, who I was too shy to speak to, to the latest pop star whose poster hung on the wall of my room. I loved being in love.
But as most of us know, that feeling isn’t really love. It’s just infatuation. Real love has little to do with feelings and more to do with commitment, accompanied by action. And since God is love, we can’t ever really experience true love unless we have God living in us.
Here, John sums up the Christian life in a nutshell. These two things, believing in Jesus as God’s Son, and loving one another, go hand in hand. We cannot truly have one without the other, for God is the source of all love. He is love, and He will not dwell in our hearts unless we choose to believe in the name of His Son. When we believe in Jesus, and God dwells in us, His love will naturally spill over and we will love one another.
Without God, we can act in a loving way. But real love – the self-sacrificing kind – is only possible with the Love-Source in our hearts. Without Him, our human version of love will wear thin, for we will always expect something in return for our sacrifice. Without Him, love is a feeling, which will come and go with our moods. With Him, love is a way of life, as much as breathing!
Not that we always love perfectly. When we become like Christ, we will love perfectly. Until then, our human nature will always compete for God’s place in our hearts. But we must humble ourselves, and let Him have first place in our lives. We must keep this command written on our hearts: believe in the name of his son, Jesus Christ, and love one another as he commanded us.
Dear Father, I believe in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Please help me to love others with the love that only comes from You.