We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
“We love because he first loved us.” Not a very long sentence, 6 short words; 27 letters.
Yet in these few words we get a glimpse of the way of Jesus. We catch a whiff of the beauty of dependence, surrender, acceptance, community, transformation, and incarnation. In these words, we get our name and our identity.
It all begins with God and his deep, deep love for us, for you and for me.
Following Jesus, being on mission, discipleship, transformation, right behavior, they are not recipes or a checklists, not does or don’ts. They are a way of life, a romance, a love affair. Formed in love, grounded in love, lived in love.
It is in the love of God (he first loved us) that we get our identity formed and reformed. You see, every one of us is born into the world, with a kind of shape or form. Every one of us gets misshapen by so many things, by people who did not love us the way that we needed to be loved — often because they were not loved the way they needed to be loved. Our identity get’s misshapen. We lose the ability to love. And so, we can only love, because he first loved us.
We need to lean into the reality of God’s love day by day, moment by moment. If we allow our identity as “beloved” to become reality, it will propel us forward and protect us from the lies that seek to name us, misshape us, and give us a false, mishapen identity. The reality of our belovedness, when you grasp it, will seep into all you do.
The Gift that God offers to you is his complete love of all of you. Your ordinariness, your beauty and your brokenness. He richly loves you and sends you out into the world with this love, to love like he loved. That is a huge charge. But if we stay in his love, understanding all our brokenness is open to God and yet loved, If we understand our belovedness to our core and sit in this truth until our hearts believe it, we become transformed. We are Ordinary People Living The Extraordinary Way of Jesus — we love, because he first loved us.