It can incredibly difficult to grasp God’s character. He is profoundly mysterious, however in 1 John 4:8 we’re given a powerful description of God: “whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
How simple this explanation is; God is love. It feels powerful… But like all love we experience, it also may feel scary, difficult to capture, elusive and vulnerable. Lean into love’s vulnerability. Welcome love into your life. Radiate love without fear and fully expect to see God move in powerful ways.
Feeling God’s love
Our relationship with God is informed by our relationships on Earth. For example, if you’ve been hurt by those you love, it can be hard to believe that a God who is love can be trusted.
Before radiating love out to the world, first work to receive God’s love in a way that is truly uplifting, life-giving and based on radical acceptance. Approach devotions intentionally, journaling the word “love” before you begin reading; seeking to understand the underlying message of love within any Biblical text.
You may also want to carve out time for guided meditations that can bring the message of God’s love deeper into your body, at even a subconscious level. Here’s a great meditation to start with:
Additionally, you may want to work with a therapist to identify the painful “love” you’ve experienced in your life and work to redefine love’s power moving forward.
Loving actions to those you most value
Love is not a finite resource. As you begin to feel the power of God’s love in your life, freely give it away. By giving away your love, you’ll discover that this act results in your heart only becoming more filled. Love your family, your partner, your tribe. Those closest to us are often the ones who can wield the most power to damage. Commit to radical forgiveness to those who have hurt you.
Learn the love languages of the people you most value, seeking to give them love in the way that’s most meaningful to them, not necessarily what’s most intuitive to you.
Loving actions in your backyard
Who could forget Jesus’ powerful explanation of the greatest two commandments in Matthew 22:37-29? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Loving and serving our neighbors brings incredible delight to God, yet it often seems so hard to do.
First, work to proactively build friendships (and potentially rebuild trust) with your actual neighbors. Then, expand your loving actions to your immediate community. Volunteer at your local school, help clean an adopted highway, join your church on a neighborhood service day, befriend your homeless neighbor and offer them meals. The possibilities are endless. When you love your neighbor, make the act unconditional—regardless of the potential differences between you and them, simply show up and behave with kindness and compassion.
Loving actions around the world
Lastly, radiate love globally. While there are so many international ministries and charities that blow us away, we wanted to spotlight a few that invite you into loving actions at a global level.
- Sponsor a child through World Vision. Sponsoring a child is a personal and powerful way to show love to someone on the other side of the world. We’re obsessed with World Vision’s mature and established child sponsorship program. When you sponsor a child, you support their spiritual, medical, physical and educational needs.
- Support International Justice Mission. While so many organizations are working diligently to serve the tangible needs of the developing world, they often overlook the justice system. Yes, if people are given access to clean water, food, schools, job opportunities and medicine, there may be profound improvements in the quality of their lives. However, if they feel unsafe and unable to trust their local justice system, predatory violence may undercut all the positive gains made through humanitarian relief. Consider supporting International Justice Mission in their work to strengthen global justice systems and help rescue the enslaved.
- Help end the global water crisis through Charity: Water. Bringing clean drinking water to every community is a powerful and achievable goal that we can likely see completed during our lifetime. When a community has access to clean reliable water sources, then they are freed to pursue all other forms of community development. Our friends at charity: water consistently innovate to bring clean drinking water to millions.