Because he first loved us

by Spurgeon

"We love him because he first loved us." -1 John 4:19

There is no light in the planet but that which proceeds from
the sun; and there is no true love to Jesus in the heart but
that which comes from the Lord Jesus himself.

From this overflowing fountain of the infinite love of God,
all our love to God must spring. This must ever be a great
and certain truth, that we love him for no other reason than
because he first loved us. Our love to him is "the fair
offspring" of his love to us.

Cold admiration, when studying the works of God,
anyone may have.
But the warmth of love can only be kindled in
the heart by God's Spirit.

How great the wonder that such as we should ever have
been brought to love Jesus at all! How marvelous that
when we had rebelled against him, he should, by a display
of such amazing love, seek to draw us back. No! never
should we have had a grain of love towards God unless it
had been sown in us by the sweet seed of his love to us.

Our love, then, has for its parent the love of God shed
abroad in the heart: but after it is thus divinely born, it must
"be divinely nourished".

Love is an exotic-- it is not a plant which will flourish
naturally in human soil, it must be watered from above.
Love to Jesus is a flower of a delicate nature, and if it
received no nourishment but that which could be drawn
from the rock of our hearts it would soon wither.

As love comes from heaven, so it must feed on heavenly
bread. It cannot exist in the wilderness unless it be fed by
manna from on high.

Love must feed on love.
The very soul and life of our love to God is his love to us.

"I love you, Lord, but with no love of mine,
For I have none to give;
I love you, Lord; but all the love is yours,
For by your love I live.
I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
Emptied, and lost, and swallowed up in you."

If Christ has our love...
If Christ has our love he has our all; and Christ never has what
he deserves from us, until he has our love. True love withholds
nothing from Christ, when it is sincerely set upon him. If we
actually love him, he will have our time, and he will have our
service. He will have the use of all our resources, and gifts, and
graces. Indeed, then he shall have our possessions, and our
very lives, whenever he calls for them.

In the same way, when God loves any of us, he will withhold
nothing from us that is truly good for us. He does not hold
back his own only begotten Son, Rom.8:32.
When Christ loves us, he gives us everything we need-- his
merits to justify us, his Spirit to sanctify us, his grace to adorn
us and his glory to crown us. Therefore, when any of us love
Christ sincerely, we lay everything down at his feet, and give
up all to be at his command and service. "...they did not love
their lives so much as to shrink from death." Rev. 12:11.