By Rick Warren
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love . . . he sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:9–10 NLT).
Consider the small word “so” that goes before “love” in the Bible’s most famous verse, John 3:16. The verse says, “God so loved the world . . . “ (NIV).
God loves you with an extravagant, lavish love that can never be taken away. It’s beyond comprehension. He loves you on your good days and your bad days. He loves you when it’s raining and when the sun is shining.
God says he doesn’t want you to just recognize this lavish love intellectually. He wants you to recognize it emotionally. Love is God’s nature. God created the universe and everything in it for no other reason than so he could love it. And God created you so he could love you.
In fact, in Jesus, God shows us what real love, his love, looks like. “God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love . . . he sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:9–10 NLT).
Many people say they love you. God showed you how much he loves you. He loved you so much it hurt. He sacrificed his Son. When Jesus died for you, he was saying he loved you so much he’d rather die than live without you.
And the Bible says that’s what real love, the kind of love that you can build your life upon, looks like. Real love makes sacrifices. Real love endures to the end. Real love gives all.
That’s the kind of love only God has for you. And he’s waiting with open arms to show you.
Rick Warren is pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. This editorial first appeared on his blog.