Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love… God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. –1 John 4: 7-8, 16
Anthony De Mello, once wrote, “Happiness is not something you acquire; love is not something you produce; love is not something you have; love is something that has you. You do not have the wind, the stars, and the rain. You don’t possess these things; you surrender to them.” ¹
I’ve been thinking about these words lately. Oftentimes we see “love” as the cumulative efforts of all that we do in the name of love. On one hand, this is very true: Love needs to be an action. It takes more that just talking about loving someone. If we are to love, we need to act. Yet on the other hand, love needs to be more than just our acts of love. It is quite possible to act, yet not truly love.
I find it fascinating that when the writer of 1 John wanted to speak of God, he said, “God is love.” What is most fascinating is not what it says, but what it doesn’t say. The writer does not say, “God does loving things.” Now it is true that God does in fact do loving things, but the text is saying something much more mysterious. God does not merely do loving things. He is love. And those who live in love live in God.
What does this all have to do with us? It is easy for us to fall into a vision of “love” as a list of things that we do, while our hearts essentially remain unchanged. Love is not merely something you do; love is something you surrender to, something you allow to invade you, change you, control you, even take up residence in you. We are not a changed people merely by doing the right things. We are a changed people when we surrender to the God who is love, allowing His love to take up residence in us. Only when you and I have fully surrendered to the love of God, can we live in God, and love comes naturally as it flows from the overflow of our heart.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
Where in your life do you need to see love completely take over?
1 John 4:7-21
¹ De Mello, Anthony. Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality. New York: Image Books, 1992. 176.