“Those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.” (1 John 2:5 NLT)
I fell in love with my husband right before I left for my freshman year of college. With four hours of driving time separating us because he attended a different school, we spent most of the next two years learning about each other over the phone and through letters and email. This pre-dated cell phones, so it cost us ten cents a minute to maintain our relationship by phone. Sending and receiving emails required a four-block walk to the computer lab on my campus.
Every few months, either one of us drove to the other for a weekend, or we met halfway for the day. Those short visits provided a glimpse of what life could be like if we lived in the same city.
After two long years, he graduated and got a job just a mile away from my school. With wedding plans in place, we had two short months to acclimate to each other’s constant presence. We ate dinner together, grocery shopped together, washed cars together. What once seemed menial became spectacular because we were finally together.
I’m not sure how I juggled challenging classes, hours at the library, my job, and a long-distance relationship, but it didn’t feel hard at the time. Why? Because I was head over heels in love.
When you are in love, you don’t mind paying a little extra for late-night whispers over long-distance phone lines. When you are in love, you don’t mind walking to the crowded computer lab on a cold night just to feel the warmth coming through an email. Love motivates you to drive six hours round-trip to share pasta and a walk in the park.
Love for God should have the same effect on us. When we love God, following his commands doesn’t feel like work. Reading his Word isn’t about checking an item off a Christian to-do list; it’s like reading a love letter from our Beloved. Prayer becomes whispers among intimate friends. Serving others is a pleasure when viewed through the lens of love.
We can begin to see the Bible as instructions from our loving Father instead of a list of rules. Our love for him makes it easier to let go of pride and selfishness in exchange for humility and service. Knowing he loves us enough to send his own Son to suffer for our sin makes right living come from a place of gratitude instead of duty. Love changes us from the inside out—first our heart, then our actions.
If Christianity feels like work, love can make the difference. Accept God’s invitation into a loving relationship. As you fall more in love with him, it becomes a pleasure to live for him.
Father, thank you for loving us enough to pursue us. We stand in awe of your limitless, merciful, and gracious love. Teach us to love you and to love others with that same kind of love. When we feel distant, remind us of your love. Change our hearts and transform our lives through the power of your love. Amen.
Scripture for Reflection
“This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!” (1 John 4:9–12 MSG)
“If you love me, you will keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive him because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know him, because he remains with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15–17 CSB)
Reach for More
It didn’t take much work to fall in love with my husband. Maintaining love over the miles (and now years), however, requires us to be intentional.
Our love for God grows in those quiet moments we spend with him. As we read his Word, we begin to see how much he loves us. Through prayer, we hear the whispers of his affection and see affirmation of his presence.
Establish a time to spend with God each day. Spend time reading the Bible and talking to God in prayer. First John is an excellent place to learn more about God’s love. Watch your life transform as you fall more in love with him.
We love hearing from you! Share your thoughts with us on social media using the hashtag #tgtreachformore. Show us a photo of the quiet spot you met with God or give us a verse that helped you feel his love. We can’t wait to hear the ways you experience God’s love!
Photograph © Joshua Rawson-Harris, used with permission