So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.1 John 4:16-17
John keeps repeating himself in these verses because he wants us to understand we don’t love our spouses well as a way to prove God abides in us. We can’t simply love because we’re commanded to love—that’s doesn’t work. Eventually, we tire and our flesh takes over. Enduring relationships don’t make it to the finish line just because we’re supposed to stay in the fight. Our willingness to show new mercies every morning, grace and forgiveness in abundance, and a love that chooses them over and over again doesn’t happen because we’re commanded to do it. But staying in the battle when the world screams at us to surrender is the very evidence that God abides in us. John isn’t saying that the way to abide in God is to confess Jesus is our Savior and love others well in these verses, He is explaining the proof God abides in us is the way we love.
Because we know and believe the sacrificial love that God has for us, because we have spent time meditating on the truths of Scripture and allowed His deep and wide love to permeate our hearts, we can love our spouses well. Because we understand His love for us is steadfast and pursuing, because our hearts have grasped the truth that His mercy and His grace for us is never-ending, we can love our spouses well. Because we have come to know and believe that the love God has for us is unwavering and relentless, constant and unchanging, unconditional and foundational, we can love our spouses well.
This is how His love is perfected in us. If you have come to know and believe these truths about God’s love for you, then you are a conduit of His love to others—even and especially to those who don’t deserve it because you understand the depths of your own unworthiness.
Then why don’t we do this better? I know I’ve accepted Jesus as my Savior, I know I spend time in Scripture meditating on His truths, and I do know and believe the perfect love He has for me. I know I try to live out my life as conduit of His love to the people in my life, most especially my husband…so why do I fail so often? Why is His love not perfected in me?
My friends, we have not reached perfection. Our flesh and the evil living in this world battle what the Spirit is trying to do through us every single day. Each day is a new battle, and we must wake with the resolve to continue the fight. That resolve should take us back to the word of God, where we confess our failures and allow His Spirit to renew our hearts. In this, we will move in the direction of perfection. His love is being perfected in you and your marriage—it’s not there yet. Stay in the fight.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗