Love is not just an attribute of God. Love is His very essence. And as His child, love should be our essence as well. It should be our aroma, our inclination, our motivation, our choice.
The book of I John can be summarized by chapter 4, verses 7-9. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and every one who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”
God is love. Love is God’s essence. And He demonstrated that love by sending His only Son into the world that we might live through Him. And because love is God’s essence, the one who is born of God, a child of God, will also be known by their love; demonstrated by their love for one another (I Jn 4:7).
While the love we practice has its foundation in our identity in Christ and He living His life through us, there are some specific reservoirs from which our love flows. The apostle Paul writes, “The goal of our instruction is love that flows from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (I Tim 1:5). Paul’s goal is to teach us to love in a way that taps into our pure heart, our good conscience, and our sincere faith.
When you embraced the gospel message of Jesus Christ, you received a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. These were pure gifts of God’s grace. You did not earn them by your genius, your popularity, or your good works. But even though we received these for free, the act of seeing love flow freely from these gifts requires some choices on our part. The flow of love is not automatic. It is up to us to tap into our pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith. It is our choice of how we experience and maintain this flow of loving one another.
Suppose someone gave you a gift of a new Maserati, one of the most expensive cars in the world. If you settled in behind the steering wheel and then just stared out the window, what would happen? NOTHING! If you just sat there with no action on your part, what would happen? NOTHING! For you to enjoy and experience the gift, you have to take some action. You have to turn the key, rev the engine, put the car in gear to get something going. You have to steer, turn, accelerate, and brake to experience all the car is offering to you. You have to take some action.
In your spiritual life, all that Christ offers to you; a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith is sitting there under the hood as it were. But we have to turn the key, rev the engine, and put it into gear to tap into the spiritual energy we need to let the love flow. Take the first step of offering your love to the one who needs you, to the people God has brought into your life. Start somewhere even if the first step is small.
Loving one another from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith is a tangible expression of the Christ who lives in us.