Typically, the way people love one another is very different from God’s love. Natural love is conditional. A person usually has to meet someone’s expectations in order to be loved. Then later the recipient of natural love needs to requalify — and requalify again. In fact, in order to be loved by some people, a person needs to requalify almost daily!
The New Covenant has freed us from our own limited understanding of love and has revealed love on an entirely new level. Even the Old Testament was limited in its emphasis on love. The Law given to Moses focused on how people must love God. It pointed to people’s obedience to God as the qualifier for receiving His love. On the other hand, the New Covenant provides the revelation of God’s love for us — a love that has no limits.
We will never love God with all our hearts until we have received His love for us.
First John 4:19 says, “We love Him because He first loved us.” Notice this verse from The Message: “We, though, are going to love — love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.”
The actual text leaves out the word Him. This difference is slight, yet the rich meaning deepens: We love because God first loved us. Our ability to love without requiring people to first qualify for our love comes only by receiving the love God has for us.
John, the Apostle of Love, sheds light on how we can grow up in our own walk with God by receiving His love.
“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:16-19 NKJV).
Our choice to abide or to stay in God’s love fills us with confidence, boldness, and a fearlessness that can come no other way. We find a new depth of inner strength to face and to beat all opposition, because we now have the supernatural power that agape love generates. The power of the God-kind of love surges through us and flushes out fear. We need not fear failure, people, or disease. First, because we are loved, and second, because we are empowered by His love.
We can stand tall in the face of Satan’s threats when we believe there is nothing that will separate us from God’s love and the resources of His Kingdom. And it is our Heavenly Father’s good pleasure to give us His Kingdom (see Luke 12:32).