Every moment in every day we get to choose what we will spread: the love of God or the seeds of the devil: anger and discontentment. I would love to tell you that I always choose well, but that would be a lie. God’s love is the source of all human love, and it spreads like fire, In loving His children, God kindles a flame in our hearts. In turn, we love others, who are warmed by God’s love through us. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Sometimes instead of giving grace to others in our lives, we get angry. Instead of showing love and grace yesterday, I gave into my pride and was angry and showed it. I’ll admit, it wasn’t a pretty sight. The pride of life can be defined as anything that is “of the world,” meaning anything that leads to arrogance, ostentation, pride in self, presumption, and boasting. John makes it clear that anything that produces the pride of life comes from a love of the world. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17).
God values self-control, a spirit of generosity, and a commitment of humble service. It is possible to give the impression of avoiding worldly pleasures while still harboring worldly attitudes in one’s heart. It is also possible, like Jesus, to love sinners and spend time with them while maintaining a commitment to the values of God’s kingdom.
“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” (1 John 4:20) Nothing sinful or evil can exist in God’s presence: He is absolute goodness. He cannot overlook, condone or excuse sin as though it never happened. If we trust in Christ, however, we will not have to bear the penalty for our sins (1 Peter 2:24). We will be acquitted (Romans 5:18) by His atoning sacrifice. The availability of God’s mercy must not become an excuse for careless living and moral laxness: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Rom. 6:1-2)
So instead of giving into pride and getting angry when others don’t treat us as we think they should, we need to be like Jesus and love others even when they treat us poorly. “And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” (1 John 4:21) It’s easy to say we love God when that love doesn’t cost us anything more than weekly attendance at church. But the real test of our love for God is how we treat the people right in front of us–our family members and fellow believers. We cannot truly love God while neglecting to love those who are created in His image, and to show them love.