In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10 NRSV)

We love because he first loved us. This is so critical to our understanding of love. Love does not happen in a vacuum. Love is something that is passed from one person to another. This is one reason Christian parents are so important. A child who does not receive love, psychologists tell us, will not be able to give love. There will always be a void there--a terrible void that can never be filled. On the other hand, a child who has received the proper amount of nurturing as an infant and as a toddler will have a sense of security and trust that will last them all their lives.

This is also true with regard to Christ's example of love. Many Christians try to love without first nurturing their relationship with him. They are doomed to fail. We draw our ability to love from our connection to him. Without that connection our faith is simply an exercise in noble living. It has no real power to draw us out of ourselves and center us in others.

A family from the Northeast went on a vacation to Colorado. One night they ordered pizza. Their five-year-old kept asking when the pizza was going to get there. Finally, the five-year-old asked nervously, "Do you think they know we're in Colorado?"

Does Jesus know us or were we live? Absolutely! Does he live in your life?

Dear Jesus, my guide, may I always do my best to know you in my heart. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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