Dear friends, let us love one another, for loves comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8. (NIV)
This past January my team and I spent ten days serving the Aeta people of the Philippines. The Aeta are thought to be one of the earliest, if not the first, inhabitants of the Philippines living primarily in isolated, and mountainous regions of the island of Luzon. Despite their long history, the Aeta have faced devastating social and economic marginalization and displacement. During our time, we traveled to a village and spent three days building a church and living alongside the Aeta ministering, serving and “doing life” with them. After our extended time in this village we traveled to two other remote villages and were able to worship and feed more of the Aeta people. We concluded our trip by spending a few days on campus with our ministry partner the Aeta Bible Study Center (ABSC). ABSC’s mission is to educate upcoming generations of Aeta children, with the gospel at the cornerstone of their education. ABSC also trains pastors and plants churches in remote villages to further spread the good news of Jesus Christ across the Philippines.
During our time, love was resonating throughout the Filipino mountainside. Two groups of people from opposite sides of the world doing life together and loving on each other every step of the way. We ate together, we worked together, we laughed together, we cried together, we worshiped together. The Great Commandment (Mark 12:29-31) and the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20) walked hand-in-hand.
1 John 4:7 first commands us to love. We must understand though that we do not love to gain His love but rather we love each other because He loves us. If we are truly born-again, we must be able to love one another. If verse 7 was not powerful enough, verse 8 should come as the ultimate reality check. If we cannot love, do we truly know God? Our knowledge and understanding of Him is manifested into our love for others. We cannot love without God because “God is love.”
We can use 1 John 4:7-8 to think of love as electricity. We are powered by God’s love flowing to us. That same power then flows out of us into the world around us. The circuit is then complete when that power is used to draw others closer to God. When the circuit loses power or the current weakens, then we know that we need to lean in deeper and closer to Him. Verse 17 of the same chapter goes on to read, “This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement: In this world we are like Jesus.” If we are going to claim to be followers of God then His love must flow freely from within us.
Father, thank you for your love for me. May I constantly be reminded of your steadfast love. I want to be a shining example of your unconditional love to all those around me. I want to live in such a way that those who do not know you but know me will come to know you because they know me. And may I be an encouragement to those who already know you and help strengthen their relationship with you. Amen.