1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
When the Bible was originally written it had no chapters and verses. It wasn’t until the 13th century that it was divided into chapters, and then later into verses.
Look at the above references. Isn’t it amazing the coordination between 1 John 3:16 and John 3:16? This is love! The world has many uses for the word “love,” and there are many descriptions for what love is, and we use “love” from expressing that we love ice creme, we love our dog, we love to go on a cruise, we love our spouse or our children… and the same word we use to say that we love God.
God himself gives us the definition of what love is:
Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
There is a second part to 1 John 3:16.
And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
When we “know” love, the natural chain reaction is that we give our life to serve others.
But there is more.
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (v. 17)
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (v. 18)
I just finished reading a book about my missionary colleague Börje Green from the time we worked in Bolivia. We were neighbors from across the street; our children went to school together. One year they worked in Lima, Peru standing in for missionaries Lennart and Boyan Lindgren; I did a “cross-country” road trip with them from Lima to Cochabamba to visit our kids at the Swedish School (before we as a family had moved to Bolivia).
I cried silently this morning. My friend Börje knew what love is, and he practiced it. He worked tirelessly in Bolivia for many years, especially heading project that provided schools for now thousands of children. He passed away in 2004 with an aggressive type of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Börje was a man with compassion. What stands out most in my mind about him was the time he helped us when our emotions ran high because our daughter and her needs were misunderstood at the school. Because of her cystic fibrosis she could not handle the schedule as expected of her. I don’t recall the exact details. Maybe he was one of the school board members, or he might have been one of the mission board members. Whatever authority he had, he exercised and he put my mind at ease.
There were other instances, but this is the one that stands out the most. Reading the book his wife has written reminded me so much of those years past and the ministry we had together in Bolivia. Now I cooperate with his son, who is a missionary in Trinidad, Bolivia and we have a Bible School going on Facebook.
As I took my Bible for my devotional reading it opened up to 1 John 3:16. I hadn’t realized before this clear definition of love, and I’ve been reading the Bible for sixty years!
Here is another combination of the definition:
1 John 4:10-11
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
2 John 6
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
My friend Börje walked in love. When he lost his ability to speak he used a computer to do it for him. He had a few choice phrases he had programmed so he just needed to hit one key (close to the end he had no strength to be typing long phrases). Every person he met got this question: “Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior?”
That is the most important question of all. We know what love is because Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. Have YOU accepted that love?
Meditate on this truth. Let it permeate your whole being. May we be instruments of love as my friend and colleague Börje was. Are we willing to lay down our lives for our brothers?
Börje and his wife Birgitta (left) at their dining room table
in Bolivia visiting with friends from Sweden
(From left to right) Birgitta (Börje’s wife), her mother, Börje,
missionary Ronnie, and my funny husband
Börje & Birgitta’s kids and our girls (center) on a jungle safari
For my Swedish friends: Look up Birgitta Green on Facebook and order the book or contact me and I will give you the information. It just costs 100 crowns plus shipping. Those will be 100 crowns well spent.
Bokens namn: Över högsta berg, genom djupaste dal