Lynne Paterson is Tearfund’s Head of Prayer Mobilisation
‘We love because he first loved us.’ (1 John 4:19)
American worship leader Misty Edwards sings that ‘the measure of a man is the measure of his heart’. Despite being over six feet tall, this makes me feel rather small! I long for my internal love tank to be a vast, overflowing reservoir. In reality, it feels more like a puddle; once a few people have splashed around in it, all that remains is a damp patch on the ground.
Loving those close to me is not too difficult. Loving people that offend or disappoint, or my global neighbours whose names and faces I may never know, requires a love source beyond me. 1 John 4:19 says, ‘We love because he first loved us’. Whenever I feel my love is lacking (which is more days than not), I know that it’s time to be ‘first-loved’ again; because the extent to which I experience God’s love for me determines the capacity I have to love others. Of course, God never stops loving us, but our love tank is topped up as we repeatedly realign our minds and emotions to this truth.
Advent provides an excellent opportunity to be ‘first-loved’ again as we ponder the incarnation of the eternal God in the frame of a helpless baby, come that we might know love and then give it away.