This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
— 1 John 4:10
One of the many joys of being a pastor is to officiate at weddings. Weddings come in all sizes and shapes, but most of them have one thing in common: love.
Before officiating at a wedding, I meet with the engaged couple for premarriage counseling. Part of our discussion centers on the reasons why they are getting married. Love always plays a significant role in these reasons. And yet that little word love can mean many different things. Love is a noun, and love is a verb. We fall in love, and we love being in love. We love people and animals, sports and ice cream, and certain types of weather! Love songs are one of the most popular types of music. So when we consider that love is the fruit of the Spirit, what exactly are we talking about?
John writes, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” True love is sacrificial action. It seeks to bless others. It seeks the best interests of others. The more we value God’s saving love for us, the more the Spirit moves us to share that love with others in both our words and our deeds.
Father God, even as you have shown your love to us through the death of your Son, help us by your Spirit to truly love you and our neighbors. In Jesus, Amen.