I John 4:7-10 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God--for God is love. God showed how much he loves us by sending his only Son into the world so we might have eternal life through him. This is real love, it is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
You cannot love God and not love others. God loves everyone, no matter who they are, what they have done, where they live, what color of skin they have, or what church they go to. No one is excluded from God's love for them. We put conditions on who we love, but God doesn't. It is God's will that we let Him strip away our conditions of love. The more conditions we put on whom we love, the less like God we are. If we are not becoming more like God in His love, we are drifting away from God, for God is love.
You cannot love God and not love those in the church. We don't often get along well with each other in the church. The church is very segregated and isolated. We hold one another at arm's length and are suspicious of each other. We lack trust in each other and are fearful on one another. Think about it. How many people from other church bodies do you really know and have fellowship with? How many people from the church down the street can you honestly say you love, especially those churches you have strong disagreements with? When was the last time your church had a community church fellowship without any agenda except to have fellowship and grow in love for each other?
You cannot love God and not love yourself. The heart of love is respect and until you learn to respect yourself, you will never truly love yourself or God. I don't mean an ego gone wild. I mean that you must have enough respect for yourself that you live confidently before God. You don't see yourself as a nobody. Rather, you see yourself as the somebody you are in Christ; you are His child. Loving yourself means you aren't easily swayed by the critical spirit of others or those who simply disagree with you. It means you find your identity in Christ and not in the opinions of others. How we feel about ourselves directly affects how we feel about God and others.
God has shown us what real love is like by sending us His Son to die for our sins. Jesus lived sacrificially and gave His life for us unconditionally that we might be saved. Our natural response to Him ought to be for us to sacrificially and unconditionally engage ourselves in the lives of others. Let us ask the Lord to help us do just that today.