Read 1 John 4:19-21
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Those who say,”I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters,are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen,cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. (NRSV)
We so often think that our basic problem is that we don’t love God or others enough. There is usually a more basic problem than that. We don’t realise just how much we are loved by God. It is generally true to say that people who are loved are the best lovers of others. If I don’t receive love I am scarcely capable of giving it.
God loves us: this is the fundamental reality. It is the context within which we love him and love others. Trying to love God and one another without having a deep appreciation of God’s love for us is an exercise in futility. We can’t merely manufacture such love.
Recognising and sensing I am loved by God frees me to love him in return. My love for him doesn’t create God’s love for me: the reverse is true. And when I love God it follows automatically that I am to love others. After all,to love God is to want to please him. What pleases him? That I love others.
My love of others springs from my love of God. My love of God springs from his love for me. That old song of the Beatles All You Need is Love spoke more truth than they or their listeners ever imagined.