Beloved: a five-part reflection, Reflection one

What does it mean to be beloved?  How do we respond to being beloved?


Read 1 John 4:7-21

Pray that the Lord will open your mind and heart to hear His voice.

What does it mean to be loved by God and how does that love affect the way we treat others?

The old song claims that love is a many splendored thing, but love is far more than April roses, morning mists, and lovers kissing on high and windy hills.  The Coral Records 45rpm touched on exactly what real love is when it added “The Bible Tells Me So” to the B side when it released Don Cornell’s pop hit in 1955. 

The Old Testament describes love as khesed (חֶסֶד).  Khesed represents the totality of God’s steadfast mercy, grace, patience, faithfulness, care, justice, and loyalty. God’s love is so powerful that Moses had to cover his face after spending time with Him because it shone with residual glory. That same love manifested in prophetic visions over a thousand years (or more) and was fully revealed in the incarnation of Jesus. In Jesus, we can offer God’s khesed to other people.

Khesed is based on relationships. First is the relationship between the Father and His children, beginning with the descendants of Abraham under the first covenant, and then to believers under the second covenant as God’s adopted children. When we experience God’s love, we are compelled to share that love, not out of a sense of duty, but out of love’s overflow. Ruth offered khesed to Naomi, lovingly choosing her mother-in-law over her own people. Esther showed khesed by addressing the king in order to save her people, even though her own life was imperiled by the act. The greatest demonstration of khesed is Jesus, fully human and fully God, “the love of God made manifest among us” (1 John 4:9). 

John wrote, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). To share khesed is the highest form of loving our neighbors as ourselves. It means abiding in God’s love with joy so full that we can’t help but love one another (John 15:10-17). Love begins with God’s love for us, our devotion to Him, and the outpouring of khesed on people around us.

Journal a response to the Father recognizing His great love for you.

For further reflection, contemplate  Exodus 34 and Psalm 118.

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