Several years ago, Julie Clinton, of Extraordinary Women, wrote a really short, beautiful devotional entitled “Trusting God’s Love.” Through this devotional, I have come to see 1 John 4:12 from the inside out … and it is a wonderful view!!!!
So, before I share the wonderful perspective I received, I highly recommend you read Julie’s devotional first. Go ahead; I’ll wait. 😊
Julie’s biblically-sound focus is on seeing/experiencing God’s love when others do loving things to/for you. My perspective spins off of her last statement. If God’s “love shines through the lives of His people” (J. Clinton), and if God’s “love is made complete in us” as “we love one another” (1 John 4:12 NIV), then the person who does the loving of another is the one who experiences the completeness—or fullness—of God’s love!
What a great place to be in! Truly it is better to give than to receive!
Now, whenever I see this verse, I immediately see this new “internal” perspective. Like looking at those optical illusions, once you’ve seen the hidden picture you always see it. And I like what I see!
Julie’s perspective is a good one: encouraging us to receive acts of love from others as being from God. We all need to have our eyes opened more to how God is loving us through a multitude of little ways.
But what if no one seems to be doing anything that speaks love to me? I cannot force anyone to do a loving act for me, so am I at the mercy of others who may not be acting very loving or even be aware of my need? What if no one ever did a loving thing for me, especially when I’m down or in crisis? What then?!
Do I just not get to experience the love of God that I so desperately need? No! God is wiser than that!
I can experience the love of God myself any time I demonstrate some genuine love/care for anyone else. In fact, I will experience the complete, full-circle of God’s love—a level that cannot be experienced just by receiving love from others!
Also, in this verse is the fact that “no one has ever seen God [the Father]” (NIV). That sounds like a bummer because it would be absolutely thrilling to literally see God in all His wonderful splendor and beauty!
“But,” John says (v. 12), there is another way! One of the best ways to get a good peak at God’s awesomeness is to—not be loved—but to love someone else!
Since God is love (1 John 4:8b), our loving others is the manifested truth that God does indeed dwell within us (v. 12). And His love reaches its apex, or completion point, when we are loving others … just like He has done for us (see vv. 9-11).
Therefore, we don’t just get to see God and His love; we get to experience the fullness of it in a—for lack of better wording—in a 3-D virtual-reality kind of way! This will be even more true when we love those who have yet to show us any love back!
This is mind-blowing to me!
Do you want to (or need to) experience the love of God and thus see a peek of Him? Then go love on somebody.
It doesn’t take much; even a genuine compliment or expression of appreciation regarding things taken for granted can create the rushing thrill of a God-moment for you! Trust me, I know.
Thanks for reading!
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