(At the church I serve we publish a devotion each week based on the scripture from Sunday's worship. These devotions are provided in order to encourage people to remain connected with the scripture throughout the week. I'm going to start publishing these here on my blog with hopes that they might be helpful to you, too.)
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 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. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. I John 4:7-11
Picture the best love you've ever known. Perhaps it was love shared with your spouse, your child, your parent. There are many stated reasons we love others and many ways to show that love, but this scripture reminds us of something we often forget: we are able to love - able to know the joy of loving - because God loved us first.
Even though we talk about God's love...even when we believe in God's love...there is another reality we live with: often we aren't sure how lovable we are. Often we know that there are reasons we don't deserve love. Often we wonder if God could really love us that much. But, look again at what the scripture above reminds us of: God loves us first and not because we loved God, not because we are perfect, not because we deserve it, but simply because loving us is God's nature - it's who God is.
Make a list of the things about yourself that are not lovable. Make a list of the reasons God shouldn't give you the time of day. Now tear up that list! Throw it away! God doesn't care! God loves you!
Spend time with that reality this week. Be grateful for God's love.
And, remember, it's not just about you. As you spend more time resting in God's love...as you realize more and more how loved you are...watch how it increases your ability to love others.