1 John 4

Lectio Divina {Divine Reading} Read. Reflect. Respond. Rest.


I’ve been reading the entire chapter of 1 John 4 each day this week.  There’s so much in there!  Each time I read it, I’m struck by how often the word “love” is written.  It leads me to ask God what he wants me to know about love because when I read this chapter, it’s obviously very important!


I feel pretty restless when I read this chapter.  There are so many layers, and I have so many questions.  Most of them are some form of “what does love look like?” Overall, the answer to any of my questions looks simple:  God loves me, so I love others.  Love will help me discern the truth (v. 2-3).  Love is why I can know God (v. 9) Love is what God has done for me (v. 10) Love is how God dwells in me (v. 12)  Love is God (v. 17) – and therefore God is love.  Love banishes fear (v.18)  Love includes loving God AND loving people (v. 21).

That last verse is a bit of a kicker.  “The command we have from Christ is blunt:  Loving God includes loving people.  You’ve got to love both”.  I know the love I think I have for God is not the love I usually have for people.  It feels like loving God is “easier” because He first loved me, and in the moments when I am close to grasping the idea, I know he loves me unconditionally.  That’s a big love. But loving people?  Of course I love people.  All people?  Love them like God loves me?  People who I disagree with (both individually and as groups)?  People who have hurt me?  People who do things I think are not right?  I think instead of loving, I judge, I fear, I label, I dismiss, I ignore.


What does Jesus have to say to me about this?  I sense, through the words in verse 17 that love (therefore God) wants to have the run of the house (of me).  That I am invited to take up permanent residence in a life of love – and he’ll teach me (that means put me in situations where I can choose to give to try it and then give me more opportunities to practice it!) – and in that way I am living in God and God is living in me.  He understands that I have a long way to go.  He’s with me.  He knows I have a fear of failing.  But he’s given me life from his very own Spirit (it says so in v. 13).  And he keeps reminding me that he loved me first, he loves me now, and he will always love me.  Can I surrender myself to that?


Rest comes in surrendering myself to that kind of love.  My soul is drawn to rest in the words in verse 12: “God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us – perfect love!”  And I’ll get there when I take action on the words that come before this:  “IF we love one another …”

Candice Letkeman

Candice is married to Curt and is the leader of the iPray team at Seeds Church.