19We love Him because He first loved us. [simple_tooltip content=’7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
19 We love Him because He first loved us.
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.’](1 John 4:7-21)[/simple_tooltip]
It’s amazing how we miss the truth of this simple and straightforward scripture. God doesn’t love us for what we do—we love God for what He’s done for us. All error in spiritual matters hinges on this point.
Everything we do must be in response to God’s love, not to obtain it. Any good deed, regardless of its merit, can be rendered unacceptable to God if our motives are to obtain His favor through what we do. He doesn’t relate to us based on our performance. Praise Jesus! God commended His love to us while we were still sinners [simple_tooltip content=’But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’](Rom. 5:8)[/simple_tooltip]. He loves us because He is love, not because we are lovable.
Only when we appreciate this unearned, unmerited love of God can we truly love Him in return. God is love [simple_tooltip content=’He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.’](1 John 4:8)[/simple_tooltip] and all love comes from Him. Love doesn’t originate with us. We can only give love to the Lord and to others after we receive it from Him.
Relax! You don’t have to force yourself to love God. All you need to do is focus your attention on how much He loves you. As you begin to explore the depths of His love for you today, you will automatically begin to love Him in return. It’s inescapable. Instead of focusing on what you should be doing for the Lord, focus on what He’s already done for you. Then love and appreciation will flow freely from your heart toward your loving Father.