“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us…” (1 John 4:10 NKJV)
In my ministry travels, I have met some of the most precious and sincere people in the world. Their heart is so pure and they desperately want to honor God. Yet, I can see it in their faces and hear it in their voices... Disappointment! Disappointment in themselves... Disappointment in their commitment... Disappointment in the way they have proven their love for Jesus. They feel accepted by God when they do well and rejected when they do bad.
The reason for this is we've been taught from the time we are very young to obsess about our spiritual growth and religious progress. Religion tells us to work hard to earn God’s favor by adhering to Biblical formulas and prescriptions. Yet, at the end of the day our love level for God seems to rise and fall depending on the season of our lives and our unpredictable emotions. A life of religion is based on behavior and performance.
Yet, the Gospel is not the bad news about us. It’s the good news about JESUS! Jesus came bringing a new perspective on the commandment of love. 1 John 4:10 redefines Love… “In this is love, NOT that we loved God, but that HE LOVED US.” It’s not what bad sinners we are. It’s what a good savior Jesus is. God doesn’t love us because we are lovable. He loves us because He is love (1 John 4:16). God's love doesn’t rise and fall based upon our performance. His love is steady because of his PROMISE. God loves us perfectly outside of our ability to love Him or perform for Him. After all, Christ died for us even while we were sinners (Romans 5:8).
Our best love for Jesus will only and ever be a response to our growing revelation of His great love for us. When we learn to steadily focus on Jesus’ perfect love for us rather than our weak love for him, we will naturally live for God better on accident than we ever could on purpose.