The Bible’s litmus test for genuine faith, is explained in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another just I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”.
The foundation of our love for one another is a revelation of God’s love for us. The most important question in your life is not how much you love others or even how much you love God. It is how much do you think God loves you. Everything flows from this. Once we grasp and fully understand how much God loves us and allow that love to transform our lives, we are in a much better place to reach out in love to those around about us. In contrast, when we are unaware of God’s love for us, we can tend to relate to others from a point of need, seeking to get them to fill the emptiness in our own lives, an approach that often leads to disappointment and even dysfunction in relationships.
As we experience a greater fullness in our own heart and lives because of the love of God, we will find it easier to love those around about us. It will be an outflow of the love we already have in our hearts. Even Jesus himself was given an affirmation of the Father’s love for him just as he began his ministry (Mark 1:9-11). He knew he was “the beloved” – loved by God the Father.
As we receive God’s love into our heart, we begin to accept ourselves, even in our imperfect and frail state. This enables us to obey the second great commandment, which is to “love your neighbour as yourself.” Many people struggle to love others because in reality they hate themselves and have no love inside to give out freely to others. There is an old song (1985) by the Bill and Gloria Gaither with a lyric that says this, “I am loved, I am loved, I can risk loving you, for the One who knows me best loves me most … We are free to love each other, because we are loved.” Unless we truly know that WE are loved, we will find it difficult to truly love others.
Living from the starting place of God’s love is the master key to unlock untold possibilities.