Saturday, August 22

The irreducible minimum

Scripture: Jeremiah 31-32, 1 John 4

1 John 4:7–8 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Observation

So much to pick from today in both Jeremiah and 1 John!

John wrote at length about the necessity of loving one another.  One of the results of the proto-Gnostic error that John was correcting was an elitism that fostered dishonor and lack of love.  The heretics believed in levels of spiritual knowledge, and when you leveled up, you looked down on others who were not as enlightened.  This was wrong for many reasons, but especially for this: it violated the “irreducible minimum” of love.  

An “irreducible minimum” is a fundamental necessity or requirement; it is a sine qua non (Latin: “without which not”), an absolute necessity.  In this case, the irreducible minimum is love.  You are not a Christian if you don’t love.  John put it starkly: if you love, you are God’s child and you know Him.  If you don’t love, you don’t know God, for God is love.

Application

Pretty clear application: love others!  If you struggle to love someone, focus on God’s love for you.  “We love because He first loved us.”  (4:19)  God has loved you despite your sin and failure, so He can help you love others despite theirs.  Ask Him to fill your heart with His love.

And remember: love is not a feeling.  Love is doing.  Love is doing what is best for another no matter what it costs you.  Love is wanting the best for others, and doing what you can to make that happen.  Loving an enemy doesn’t mean that you feel warm fuzzy feelings for them; it means that you pray God’s best for them, and do what you can to make that happen.  

And for that, I need God’s love and power!  I need to know Him, because He is love.  And He loved me first.

Prayer: Lord, fill me with Your love today.  And whenever I interact with someone who is difficult, abrasive, antagonistic, or just hard to love, help me to lean on You and love them anyway!