We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19 NIV
Once upon a time, when people still wrote cursive and used the postal service, folks would write love letters to their beloved. In these letters were all of their feelings for the other person -- how their absence pained them and how they looked forward to reuniting. Upon receiving the mail and espying the letter, the recipient's heart would leap for joy. Sometimes these letters would even be scented with perfume, invoking another sense of that person. Finally, the letter was opened with excitement and anticipation, and the words consumed with rapt attention, sections reread repeatedly. These cherished items might be kept bundled together with a ribbon, hidden safely away from the prying eyes of nosy siblings. Sadly, receiving a text message today that says "Luv U" isn't close to the same thing.
1 John 4:7-21 is a letter in which the author tells us of God's great love for us. Its fragrant scented message needs to be bound up with ribbon and kept within our hearts. Its words need to be poured over eagerly and repeatedly as a reminder of how deeply He cares for us. Unlike a traditional romantic love letter, God tells us we must love him and other people. All we know of love, the only way we can love, is a result of God's love for us.
God, we give thanks and cherish your love. We read your Word and thrill at its message. Please help us to let that same love emanate from our hearts to others. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.