God demonstrated his love for us through his Son who loved us and gave himself for us. We experience this love personally as God pours his love into our hearts by his Spirit. And we are now called to live in love for God. However, our love for God must always be understood as a response to his love in Jesus. We don’t love God so that he might love us. As John says, “We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19).
If we put our love for God before his love for us we might mistakenly believe that his love for us depends on our love for him. So when our days become crowded and God ends up neglected, we may feel we are not worthy of his love. We then start to avoid God. We even imagine that God is waiting for us to get ourselves together before we can again enter his presence.
Such thinking betrays our failure to grasp that God’s love for us is constant. Any increase in our love for him cannot increase his love for us. Any decrease in our love for God cannot make him love us less. Nothing we do can make him love us more; nothing we do can make him love us less. While it is true that our Father sometimes disciplines his children (Heb. 12.6), he does so as an expression of his love for us. His love for us is always free, lavish and constant. The God who IS love does not drive us to the duty of love in guilt and shame. No! In love, he draws love out of us in response to his immeasurable love.