“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”-- 1 John 4:8 NLT
Sometimes the Bible can seem incredibly complex, and other times the simplest verses hit our hearts with immense power and strength.
Did you know that the word “love” actually has multiple meanings? As athletes, we may have a love for our sport, and as Christians we love God, but we also may use the word love when we’re talking about a meal after a long practice. It’s a simple word that is truly more complex than you might have imagined, though the world has twisted “love” to have various connotations that God never intended it to have.
The Bible is clear on what it means to love and to know love: those who know God truly know love because God is love! I remember singing a hymn as I was growing up that repeated “God is love, God is love,” and it has been stuck in my head ever since.
God’s love for us is agape love, the highest form of love there is. Jesus represented agape love in the flesh; He came to the Earth with the mission to honor God and bring the world the truth of God’s love. By sacrificing His life to pay for the debt we have, His death on the cross and His resurrection represent the perfect love that God has for us: a love that knew us before we knew we needed it.
Agape love is eternal and unconditional. God’s love for us is not based on how we love Him. If you have a personal relationship with the Heavenly Father, you know this love well.
Whether you win or lose, come in first or last, practice well or give up, God’s love for you is unconditional
You have been loved with the most perfect love! God calls us to love one another, and though we may desire to love our friends, families, or fellow competitors perfectly, often we fail. God is the only One who can personify agape love.
As competitors for Christ, we can love those around us by pointing them straight to the most perfect love, by pointing them to God. By loving our teammates, coaches, and even our competition with the love that God has shown us, we can direct people to find unconditional, eternal, sacrificial and perfect love—God himself. To know God is to know agape love and to love God is to point others to that love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8; John 3:16; Romans 5:8
“Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to show the world Your agape love for us. Forgive me when I forget how perfect Your love is for me. I want to love the way You do, so help me to know You more so that I can know more of Your love and represent that love well to others. In Jesus’ Name, I pray, Amen.”