Loving First


Loving First

1 John 3:11
11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. (NIV)


Love is from the beginning.

When human beings do not love, they work against their ontology without realizing it. Like fish out of water, life resembles a flopping-in-the-boat existence. There is a great deal of movement and activity, but life is slipping away. Sin created a movement in our hearts from the ontology of love to a mechanism of selfishness. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, we first seek to be loved, then afterward, we love only those who love us.

As we grow in the love of God, He restores our ontology so that we begin to love first according to how He created us. The concern of whether we are loved by others pales as His love overflows and satiates the soul. His love creates a shift at our core restoring the ontology of loving first.

The world seeks to be loved first. Consider the age of selfies and social media. Many will use social media to love others and connect with them. But when there is a greater distance from God, posts and selfies are intended to garner love, attention, and acceptance. Selfies put on display the airbrushed life that is assumed will cause others to give this approval, acceptance, attention, and love. This phenomenon has always been, but social media has put a spotlight on it.

The sinful misalignment of our souls alters our logic. The misaligned but now natural assumption of humanity is that life peaks when we are loved. Many are loved, but when their main objective is to retain love, it comes with the pressure to always qualify for others’ love. The pressure does not bring about a full life. It is when the Lord restores our ontology of loving first as He loves first that life begins to peak. We live to love not to be loved. Because our main objective is not to solicit love, we live more freely without the pressure of others’ expectations. We do more to bless others, which gives us a greater sense of our worth as we see the value we add to the lives of others. We learn to embrace the proverb of Christ fully: It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Prayer: Lord, restore me to my created state before the iniquity of the fallen world. Help me to live in freedom from the pressure of expectations by loving first. Amen

achieving the good life


Comments (6)

  1. Jeremy Page

    This was an excellent devotional. Thank you for for being so faithful everyday to pour into my life. I appreciate you and hope we can come see you and Amy again soon.

    1. User Avatar

      We would love that Jeremy! May the Lord increase your influence for the Kingdom!

  2. Nate Cox

    Pastor Lee, great devotion and very insightful. I’d add that I think our use of the word ‘love’ in english isn’t specific enough. Just as our ‘love’ for our mom and our ‘love’ of cupcakes differs, so to I think does our calling to agape love differ from the ‘love’ many seek from other people. It seems to me that people tend to seek adoration/validation/affection more than an actual love. If this is true, then we’re called to give more than what is even asked or expected which is God’s agape (unconditional) love that’s not contingent on a perception of exceptionalism in the other.
    That kind of love gets people’s attention.

    1. User Avatar

      That’s true Nate. The nature of agape is something that cannot be sought after. Instead, agape manifests not by being the recipient of agape, but the benefactor. As we give agape to others, it both forms our understanding of God’s agape given to us and embeds it more deeply into who we are. It is not something to be grasped but to participate in. And you are absolutely right that most of the world pursues love in the form of “adoration/validation/affection.” Great thoughts!

  3. Dave

    Love, like some other words is a word that has been stolen or changed to mean many things that Christ followers never intended it to mean. But as we the church seek to live in the freedom to love first, then we maintain the true meaning of the word, and preserve the wonder of the word as Jesus demonstrated. Thanks Pastor for declaring the reality of love.

    1. User Avatar

      It’s very true Dave. Love is not something that we explicitly define in society. There are no universities giving degrees in how to love. Consequently, our definition of love is picked up implicitly through life experience which leads many of us to have a deformed definition.

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