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He First Loved Us

Remembering God’s unconditional love for us this Valentine’s Day

Think back to your first love. Do you remember what it felt like to be completely and totally enamored by the person who captivated your heart? In the beginning, you likely couldn’t stop thinking about him or her, discovering new ways that you could put a smile on their face and show them just how much you care. In your eyes, they could do no wrong—all offenses would just melt away overshadowed by love. You would do almost anything for them and give almost anything to be with them. As beautiful and as genuine as our romantic love for one another may be, it pales in comparison to the agape love Jesus has for us—a love so pure and so profound, that He thought you were worth dying for. Even though God was not our first love or even a forethought in our mind, He has always loved us and has reconciled us back to Him.

We love because he first loved us.

I John 4:19

The Bible tells us that before the world was formed and before we were even conceptualized, God knew everything about us and still loved us unconditionally. In His infinite knowledge, He knew that we would betray Him, fall short of His grace and desperately need someone to save us from the mess we got ourselves into. Knowing that we were incapable of saving ourselves from our sin, He didn’t wait for us to find our way back to Him because we never would have pursued Him on our own. Acting purely out of agape love, He took the initiative and sent His only Son Jesus to be born into the world and die a sinner’s death on our behalf. You see, God loved us so much that He couldn’t bear living in separation from us. He overlooked the agonizing pain and suffering of the cross and found it worth the sacrifice to send Jesus to die for us so that we may know Him and be with Him for eternity. Even now, He has never once regretted it.

Jesus—the One worthy of all our honour, worship and praise—chose you knowing that you may never choose to love Him back. He is the very embodiment of perfect, unconditional love that unlike our own fickle love, cannot be manipulated or earned. Love is simply who He is—it’s part of His unchanging nature—and it’s based on His goodness alone, not our own. Even in our running, in going our own way and even in our full-out rejection of Him, Jesus patiently waits at the door of our hearts, gently calling us to let Him and restore our relationship with Him.

As Christians who have openly believed and received God’s gift of salvation, His love is being perfected in us by the Holy Spirit. His gift of love is a result of being born of God and so we are empowered to love others with the same kind of love of God. He is the ultimate source of any love and just as God continually gives of Himself for the benefit of others, we too are called to live by this high standard. Today, as we celebrate Valentine’s Day by showing our love and appreciation towards our loved ones, may we take the time to meditate on God’s loving sacrifice and thank Him for making the first move and continuing to love us unconditionally even when we don’t deserve it. May we regularly seek and embody God’s love not just on Valentine’s Day but every day with all who we come in contact with.

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