I John 4:16 “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
The Scriptures do not spell out for us what God did during the time when only He existed. But we know that because He is good, everything was very good. At some point in this time, He filled the cosmos with millions of mighty beings who served and worshiped Him. He made the angels, His magnificent, powerful servants.
One angel, Lucifer, wasn’t content with the magnificence of his status in heaven and tragedy struck in this perfect kingdom. Ezekiel 28:17 “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” He rebelled, and convinced others to join him. God was betrayed, His love rejected, and heaven’s perfect harmony was destroyed.
Satan’s (Lucifer) rebellion was crushed by God and he and the other traitors cast out of the kingdom. Even though God’s heart was wounded by the great rebellion, He continued to love, bestowing it on His creation—human beings.
Do we see God as someone who is far away, detached, pulling the levers, pushing the buttons, and running all the stuff of life? That’s not the case. While He is the author and the director of the story, His heart and emotions are involved, because He is love. I John 4:8 “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” And, because He wants us to truly love Him, and because true love is always a choice, He introduced free will—the freedom for us to choose Him or the freedom for us to reject Him and His love. We have a choice and what we choose affects God. The hero of this great true story has chosen to allow Himself to be affected by us. Our decisions matter to Him.
Have we ever been carried away to do something for God, not because it was our duty, not because there was anything in it for us beyond the fact that we love Him? Oh! Not the great, or the grand, or the marvelous thing that will be noted by all, but the plain and ordinary, the simple thing that will give evidence to God that we are abandoned to Him. If we choose to love Him, He is delighted!
If we don’t choose to love Him—with agape, not phileo love— it shatters His heart. Because God has opened Himself up to be affected by you and your decisions, you have a crucial role in the story He is telling.
Even though I John is a short epistle, the word love is mentioned more than forty times. With just seven words in 4:19, the apostle summarizes his teaching on this important topic, ‘We love him, because He first loved us’. When the author puts Himself out there to be rejected or to be loved by the characters in the story, He is not just the author anymore. He becomes a key character in the story.
Are we humbled and amazed that God has chosen us, and that He loves us? If Jesus asked us today, ‘Do you love me deeply, with abandon, or do you just really like me a whole lot?’ What would your honest answer be? He already knows, do we?