1 Day - John 3:16
Written by Harper Leigh.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son, that whoever shall believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
Most of us have John 3:16 memorized. It can often feel like some redundant or overused verse and we can skim over it without realizing its significance. However, with Christmas tomorrow, it answers the big why? Why is Jesus’s birth significant? Why does a manger, wise men, David, Prophets, The Abrahamic Covenant even matter? What do all these point to? Well, they point to God’s love and shows us how we should love others. So what does knowing…really knowing and accepting into your heart Gods love for you through the sending of his son make us do?
Well shortly after John 3:16, John 4:7-11 reads:
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love…. In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his only Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
Our response to knowing God’s love is loving others. Left to our own devices, humans would choose to orient life around only our own well-being and self-preservation. However, because of God’s love, we love others! Have you ever loved someone? If so, what did that love make you do? Love has made me travel hundreds of miles, eat food I hate, persevere through hard times, forgive and forgive and forgive some more (there was also this one time when Love made me serenade someone...but that’s a story for another time). The point is that love changes us. When we love others, we change. We become others-centered instead of self-centered. It drives us to do crazy things. Yet, even our experience with loving others can never come close to the perfect love God has for you!
I think John said it so beautifully in
1 John 4: 7-18: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world, we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
What can we take away knowing this?
1. Our loving others is best done when responding to love we receive from God
2. Love testifies to where (or from whom) it receives its ability to love (*Points to the cross)
3. We rely on God’s love to supply us and sustain us (goodbye Tinder and Halo Top Icecream and HELLO Jesus)
4. We become like Christ
5. As we attempt to perfect love, our fear should diminish
Love responds, testifies, relies on, becomes, and attempts.
Or to put it as Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote: “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”
As Christmas arrives, we can rest in knowing why Jesus Christ and His birth is so significant. For God so loved the world that he gave. Let us respond in Love this season and always.
1. What practical steps can you take to work on perfecting love and diminish your fear(s)?
2. How are you in any way, if applicable, letting an experience with earthly love change or misguide your perception of God’s love? What can you do to reframe this mindset knowing God’s perfect love?
3. Who can you love this week and what does the working out of that love look like knowing we respond by loving like Christ?