Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:7-8
While these verses are situated in a larger bit of writing, there is no word that demands a link to what precedes. This is the beginning of a section that deals with love — particularly loving our fellow believers.
John is writing to fellow believers. This is important, because he writes: let us love one another. In order for that to make any sense, I need to know who the one another is. The one another is my fellow believers.
What I am told to do is love. The Bible has much and more to say about what love looks like — what remains of this chapter in 1 John is dedicated to love — and there is little mystery surrounding the what of love in the biblical sense. To love my fellow believers is to be patient with them and kind to them, to not be jealous of them (or their successes) and not brag or be arrogant, to not be rude to them or look to get anything from them, to not keep track of the things they do that upset or offend me and to not be easily upset or offended in the first place — essentially, to live out 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. There is more — so much more — but I do not want to overfill this one journal entry.
John also provides a “Why?” He writes that love is from God and that everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Conversely, anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Not a whole lot of interpretation needed, really.
And application is simple: Am I loving my fellow believers? If no, I need to examine myself and see if I know God, because John indicates that the answer is likely “No.” If I am loving my fellow believers as best I can, then my best just needs to keep getting better.
God, thank You for Your love for us. We do not deserve it. We could not earn it with an eternity to try. You love us because You are love. Please search me out and give me eyes to see what You see with regard to whether or not I love my fellow believers. If I do not love them, please show me that. If I do, please make that love better; more like Your love for us.