❝Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God,
and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us,
that God sent his only Son into the world,
so that we might live through him.❞
(1 John 4:7-9)
A few years ago I was given the book Loving Jesus More by Dr. Phil Ryken, President of Wheaton College. The title intrigued me, and I moved it to the top of my growing pile of books to read. I felt a little stalled in my faith and wanted to love Jesus more! The question for me was how? The book reminded me that there is a deep connection between loving and being loved. If we want to love Jesus more, we need to know more of His love personally. The apostle John confirms this concept when he says, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
If I am truly honest with myself, like my non-Christian friends, I often have doubts about God’s love for me. Perhaps they are not as predominant in my mind, but they do keep me from loving Jesus more. It’s a struggle to be acknowledged and a temptation to be resisted. Ryken advises us to “doubt our doubts.” Over and over again, I must go back to the gospel and God’s word, which is an assurance of God’s love. Do I honestly seek His word for confirmation of His love?
Advent is a time to seek confirmation of God’s love for us and to hide His word even deeper in our hearts. Jesus arrived as a baby in a lowly manger, taught us all how to live in fellowship with God, and then died on a bloody cross for our sins—demonstrating God’s tremendous love for us. While not typically a verse used much at this time of year, the profound reality of John 3:16 should sink deeper and deeper into our souls: God so loved the world (including me and you!) that He gave His one and only Son to live, die, and conquer death for us.
What good news this is! Receiving His love for us results in a whole and lasting life with Him that can be shared.
Popular singer and songwriter Jack Johnson, in his song “Better Together,” sings, “Love is the answer….at least for most of the questions in my heart.” Maybe when God answers the deepest questions of our own hearts through His contagious love, others around us may also know the profound love of Jesus.
Help me to love You more by receiving more of Your love.
Dispel my doubts about Your love
through spending time in Your word
and experiencing Your presence.
Allow that love to go so deep into my soul
that it overflows with love for others.
Mary Schaller is President of Q Place and wrote this Advent piece for Where the Light Shines Brightest, a 25-day devotional intended to help all of us begin to imagine how this Advent season, and our own personal reflection on the birth of Jesus Christ, can inform, and even transform, our desire and passion to show and share this good news with a broken and hurting world. Each daily devotional includes a short reflection on the birth of Christ and a prayer for applying this revelation to our gospel witness in the world today. Nearly two dozen Christian leaders have contributed to this resource.
Click to receive the entire downloadable version of Where the Light Shines Brightest.