God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. — 1 John 4:16
God’s greatest demonstration of love is seen through Jesus’ death on the cross. But even when we understand and acknowledge just how costly that was for Jesus, we are always susceptible to taking it for granted or making it a purely intellectual experience: giving thanks for what was done through Jesus’ death and resurrection, repenting, and asking for forgiveness becomes just another thing on the list of items to take care of each day.
John is calling us to take this more seriously than that. “Abide” means to “dwell,” “remain,” or “make one’s home.” John is pointing out that God’s love can’t remain a purely intellectual experience because this love is close and personal. This love is expressed first through Jesus and then through Jesus’ followers. Theologian Gary Burge suggests that when we exhibit love to others we step into God’s presence and this causes “the reality of God [to press] itself into our lives.”
Today, let’s seek out opportunities to show love and then reflect on God’s presence in those moments.