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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Anne Robertson

Tuesday, February 8

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
—1 John 4:7

A fair amount of my counseling time is spent with people who are worried about the eternal soul of a dear friend or relative. Sometimes they come close to the time of a funeral, other times it is earlier in life as a child is reaching maturity and deciding to sleep in on Sunday mornings. When someone comes to me with such a concern, this is often a verse that I reach for.

It seems clear to me that God is not overly interested in creeds. Not that it’s wrong to say creeds in church; and it certainly helps to be reminded of the fundamentals of our faith. But when push comes to shove…when we finally find ourselves directly in the presence of God, I don’t think God is going to ask us to recite a creed or produce our Sunday School attendance pins.

I think the ticket to be able to even recognize God’s presence is our ability to love. “God is love” is the proclamation at the end of verse 8. If we have not learned to love in this life, we’ll have no way to connect to or know God.

On the flip side, that means that people who have believed some pretty unorthodox things or have turned away from organized religion and yet have learned to love will know and be known by God with ease. When some would like to deny heaven to certain categories of people, I reach for this verse as a counter. “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” That echoes Paul’s claims in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is greater than faith.

Of course I’d love to have people stay involved with the church; what we believe has important implications on how we behave. But the thing that connects us to God is not the doctrine, but the love.

Increase our love, Lord, that we might know you. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.