Ok, it’s true, “Love can change the world.” But as C.S. Lewis identifies the Four Loves of Greek mythology so accurately, what type of love changes the world? Is it a love that works or is it people who work at love? Or is it altogether something different? Our 3 year old “wrote” a love song for our family yesterday. Standing on the piano bench, with an audience of mom, dad, and baby brother, he sang at the top of his lungs these lyrics:
I love you, daddy,
I love you mommy,
I love you Colter – but don’t play with my trucks
Maybe Luke is really on to something about love. It gives but expects certain behavior in return. Ok, I may be stretching it in order to connect with my own theological framework, but obviously God loves us unconditionally and He does expect certain behavior from His children.
Christianity doesn’t work because we love God. On the contrary, it works because God “loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) Love isn’t just a nice thing that Christians are supposed to do. It is the very basis of our faith. Therefore, “since God loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:11-12)
John defined God as love and said, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) John also asked this: If believers don’t love each other when we can see, hear, and touch one another, how do we dare claim to love God? (1 John 4:19-21)
Therefore, obedience to God and love for one another are intertwined and are the things that allow believers to “overcome the world.” (1 John 5:1-12) We can have confidence to approach God with our needs, knowing that “if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15). If you going to sing anything at the top of your lungs, try these lyrics: “let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”