Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us … There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.. – 1 John 4:7-12, 18-21
What is the best way to love God? By loving the person in front of you.
No grand scheme is required. No degrees are necessary. It doesn’t take a strategic plan. The best way to love the God you cannot see is to love those you can see.
The best way to love God is also the riskiest.
Think of how the Apostle Paul described love in 1 Corinthians 13:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
While this passage is often used at weddings, the immediate context of 1 Corinthians is anything but holy matrimony. It’s written to a divided, argumentative, and contentious church. They are condoning immorality and taking each other to court. (OK, it does sound like a few weddings I’ve been to over the years).
It is risky to be patient and kind to someone who is not also inclined to be patient and kind to you.
It is risky to not toot your own horn and risk going unnoticed or unappreciated.
It is risky to not insist on your own way, especially when you believe it is the right way.
It is risky to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and to endure all things.
Loving the person in front of you is risky indeed.
Just think how God must feel when he initiates love and it’s not reciprocated. When his patience is tested or his people rejoice in the wrong things.
If you want to have a better relationship with God, start with the person in front of you.