The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever; Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. (2 John 1-3)
Love. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear or see this word? Do you relate it to how something or someone makes you feel? What if, instead of it being what you feel, love is the most important aspect of how you think and the choices you make?
Neuroscientists have discovered that our mind is designed to work through love and that fear is not natural. This research has included the anatomy and physiology of love and fear to the molecular, genetic, and epigenetic level. (Epigenetics tells us that externally-driven changes – like how we think and our reactions to the events of life – will influence the behavior of our genes.) The following is what they have found:
- Our brains were made to operate in love
- Fear is a distorted love circuit
- We have learned to fear
Love and fear are the roots of your emotions. What you feel, your emotions, are components of a thought. Our thoughts make chemicals, those chemicals produce feelings and reactions in our body.
- We express love or fear through what we first think
- Then through the choices we make
- Which dictate what we say or do
Scientist have also discovered that love and fear cannot coexists. At any one conscious moment, we will be operating in one or the other. They can show how a fear mode involves a cycle of chemical and neurological responses that can dominate and dictate the choices we make and the reactions we set in motion. This fits with God’s Word.
For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. (John 3:20)
But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:11)
Even though fear is powerful, operating in love is even more powerful. Science is showing that when we operate in love the brain releases chemicals that literally melts away negative thought patterns. Love literally wipes out fear.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts our fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. (1 John 4:18)
Now that we’ve looked into the science of love let us see how John goes into intricate detail of the choices we have and the power love has in how we think.
John tells us what is and is not God and the effect that has on us.
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)
John lets us know up front that there is no darkness in God so if we walk in darkness we are lying to ourselves and not practicing the truth God gives us but, if we walk in the Light we are cleansed of all sin.
The words ‘if we’ are used twice, which gives us the option:
- If we say one thing but walk in darkness we’ve turned away from love and learn fear.
- If we walk in the Light we chose to live by love.
God knows that Satan will come at us with all sorts of negative probabilities so He draws the line letting us know where He stands. Light vs. darkness; Truth vs. lies; God created our minds to work through Love not fear.
John explains what we will do if we know Him.
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1 John 2:3-6)
Beloved, let us love on 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. By this the love of God is manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. (1 John 4:7-9)
There are three things we need to notice here:
- The word ‘if’ is used again telling us we have a choice to keep His commandments
- When we keep His word the love of God has truly been perfected in us: This explains the benefit when we choose love
- Love is from God for God is love: It is God’s love that is in us, it is how He designed us, and when we base our thinking on that love, it opens up a new way of living.
The commandment John references above in 1 John 2:3 and 4 goes back to when he wrote his gospel. John then reminds us of what it is again in 1 John 3 and 4.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (John 13:34)
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one that this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:12-14)
This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. (1 John 3:23)
And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. (1 John 4: 21)
God doesn’t command us to love one another so we would feel all warm and fuzzy. He commands us to love one another, expressing the importance of the choices we make.
An overlooked example of His love being expressed is when Jesus walked into the temple courts and saw what was happening. Because of his love for everyone, in truth and Light He stood against the darkness.
In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” (John 2:14-16)
Another example is how Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites when he said “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” 8 times. He spoke this in love because He knew the Pharisees were believing lies and needed to hear the truth in a way that impacted them.
Both John and Paul describe, in different ways, the importance of love being expressed in our actions. And our actions come from what we first think and the choices we make.
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18 NIV)
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
John has explained, previously, what happens if we don’t choose love: we lie and the truth is not in us, we live in darkness and we live in fear. Now they both show us benefits of choosing love.
The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. . . . I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. (1 John 2:10, 14b)
Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. . . . We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:3-4, 6)
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:6-8a)
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . But all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor thins present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35, 37-39)
Every aspect of love in truth and light is the essence of God. And with that essence, God gave us the ability to choose. It is with our minds that we choose to follow God’s love in truth and light. It is with our minds that we choose to follow the lies of Satan. Any thought we believe that doesn’t fit with who God is distorts the love circuits in our brains and fear is created.
There is enough power in love that we can stand up against anything that goes against the truth and light God has given us.
In any battle we become involved in, if we work through love in truth and light we can look at the enemy understanding the darkness and fear that has blinded them. Bringing truth where there has been a lie. Shining the light where darkness has had its hold. All through the power of love, that God gives us, works in us and through us.
That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:17b-19)