This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. (NLT)
We sometimes think our chief problem in our relationship with God is that we don’t love him enough. Apart from the issue of what qualifies as “enough”, it is a mistaken assumption. Our chief problem is that we don’t realise just how much he loves us.
As our text indicates, God’s love for us is the primary love. We love because he first loved us. Once we grasp the height and depth of God’s love for us, we are better placed to love God and others. Our love for others is a sort of overflow from the love God pours into us. It is not humanly manufactured.
So if we have a problem with accepting graciously his love for us, we will inevitably have a problem with loving others. If we feel unloved and uncared for, chances are we will fail to love and care for others.
Grasping God’s love is not simply a matter of feeling ourselves into an emotional state of being loved, though that is part of it. It is also a matter of grasping the form and shape of God’s love. If we ever doubt God’s love for us, or if we struggle to receive it, we can only look to Jesus who demonstrates that love so clearly.
The necessary first step to loving God and others is to believe we are loved. Loved people become loving people.