Because He First Loved Us (1 John 4:19)

“We love because he first loved us.”
– 1 John 4:19

Now 1 John 4:19 is a simple verse with significant, massive implications for the way we understand our lives, our relationships with God, our relationships with others in the world, with the church, with those who are not yet in Christ. We love. Why? Because he first loved us. Like everything starts with his love for us.

Out of the overflow of love we have received from God in Christ, may we love the Lord, His church, and all of those around us and throughout the world.

That is a massive truth for you and I to realize in our lives. Everything starts with God’s love for us. Everything, like your understanding of who you are, your understanding of why you are in the world, of what your purpose is here, your understanding of your past, your present, your future, everything hinges on his love for you, on God’s love for us in Christ.

If we do not have God’s love in Christ, that changes everything. If we do have God’s love for us in Christ, that changes everything. It changes our identity. It changes our future. Changes our eternity, our relationships with all the people around us. It all hinges on realizing, believing God loved us first, and as a result of his love for us, who he has made us to be in Christ, what he has called us to do in our lives, what do we do? We love. We love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And we love him, and then we love others. We want to reflect his love for us in our relationships with others.

We Want His Love So We Can Give It To Others

This affects the way we relate to others in our homes and our families, whether it’s friends we live with, whether it’s brothers, sisters, moms, dads, children, husbands, wives. Like this affects the way we love the people we work with, people we live around. It affects the way that we love people in our cities. It affects the way we love people around the world, like praying today for the Azerbaijani people in Turkey.

God, give us your love for them. Oh God, we pray that you would help us to love because you first loved us.

So even right now, God, we just meditate for a moment on your love for us. We thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus to die on the cross for us. We reflect in a fresh way right now on the gospel, on your grace, on you taking the initiative to save us from our sins, and not just your love for us 2,000 years ago and what Jesus did, but for your love for us today, for all your promises to us today to provide for us, to care for us, to lead us, to guide us, to direct us.

1 John 4:19 Wants Us To Love All People And Nations

You are so loving, oh God. We rest in your love today. We praise you for taking the initiative today to pour out love on us, your mercies that were new when we woke up this morning. All glory be to your name for your love for us.

And so we pray you’d to help us to love out of the overflow of your love for us. Help us to love you with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind, and all our strength. Help us not to love anyone, anything else supremely as we love you. To worship you alone. Help us to love you with everything we have, and then as the overflow of that, God, we pray you’d help us to love the people around us as a reflection of your love.

Help us to love those in our family, friends, church. God, help us to be loving in your church toward one another. Help us to love those who are lost or those who are not in Christ right now. God help us to love them well. Help us to care for them. Help us to share the good news of your love with them. To not be silent, God. And help us not to be unlovingly silent with the gospel.

God, help us to love the nations, and help us not to view the nations even politically and this way or that way. God, help us to view the nations with your love. So God, we pray for the Azerbaijani people in Turkey. God, help us to love them. God, send laborers to show your love to them.

So God, we pray that this verse, 1 John 4:19, would indeed be a summary description of our lives today, that we loved because you first loved us. We pray this would describe our lives today, and tomorrow, and over the long haul, that we are people who love because you first loved us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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