What makes your favorite food your favorite? It’s probably not its appearance or where you eat it. What makes your favorite dish so appealing is its distinctive flavor, its essence. The essence comes from the identifiable ingredients within the food. Without distinct flavors, all foods would seem like mystery casserole. And to be honest, this concept is much the same with people!
- What is your distinct essence? What inner quality do you convey that makes you identifiable to others?
READ THE WORD: 1 JOHN 4:7-14 (ESV)
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Verse 7 addresses the defining essence of a believer. What does God instruct us to do? Why?
- How did God demonstrate that his very essence is love (vs. 9)?
- How have we benefited from his love (vss. 9-10)?
- How is his love perfected in us (vss. 12-13)?
- When you don’t love and you don’t abide, how does it impact the world? Spend some time doing a heart check on what essence you are conveying.
RESPOND TO GOD
Unlike the world that tells us love is a feeling that comes and goes, God states that he is love. His very essence is love, which he demonstrated in giving his son so we might live. When we believe, his Spirit comes to live permanently within us. God’s essence of love becomes our essence. His love becomes our key ingredient. As we allow him to love others through us, his essence becomes more evident in our lives. We love not because of our own desire or effort, but by the power of his love working within us, and this love is a testimony to the world. If you haven’t experienced God’s life changing love, there is no better time than today.
- Ask God to show you if you have any conflicting ingredients, like envy or bitterness, which are keeping you from loving well. Confess them to the Lord and ask him to enable you to love others in obedience to him.