“We love, because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19)
John tells us in this brief verse God loved us first. This is significant, and makes such a difference in our understanding of our relationship with Him:
— First of all, it rules out any “merit” on our part with God; it is not like we decided to come to Him because we were so good — no, HE loved US first — we merely responded to His gracious love towards us. It is all of grace (from Him) and not of works (of ours).
— This also means that we don’t have to “convince” Him by our actions to love us. He already loved us — FIRST! — even before we knew or loved Him at all. So you can stop getting into the “performance trap” in your relationship with God. You don’t have to talk Him into loving you — He already does!
— AND: if He loved us first — even before we came to Him; even “while we were yet sinners” as Romans 5:8 teaches; then we do need to worry about what we might do that will make Him stop loving us. He ALREADY loved us when we were still sinners; so what you are doing now is not going to make you forfeit His love. You didn’t “deserve” his love in the first place; so you can’t “undeserve” it now!
— And then, because He loved us first; we don’t have to worry that God is always looking for some way to “get” us, or punish us. NO: on the contrary, He is always looking for a way to bring us to Him, to love us, to bless us, to keep us. If He’d only wanted to punish us, He could’ve done that already. Instead He loves you, and wants to bless you and draw you to Himself.
HE LOVED US FIRST! It is not like we have to try to “talk Him into” loving us. HE ALREADY DOES! It can make such a difference in your attitude toward the Lord and the security of your relationship with Him, when the truth of this verse hits home: He loved you first!