Because He First Loved

Dave Dravecky is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.

“We love because He first loved us” —1 John 4:19

It’s not about me loving God, because I’m incapable of doing that on my own; it’s about Him loving me. This is what Easter reflects in the most powerful way. It’s on Good Friday that we remember the life that was given, the body that was broken and beaten, and the blood that was shed so that we can have Life—this is the greatest expression of God’s love. Easter is about the power of Christ’s love poured out for us so that we can have an eternal and forgiven life. For many years I didn’t understand this truth, but this is where grace begins—a grace that is extended to us every day. Today I know that the power of Easter doesn’t stop at the Cross, and it doesn’t stop at the resurrection. It is continual.

Easter isn’t just a day that we celebrate, it’s an experience we should have everyday. The power of Easter is experiencing and appreciating the love and grace that Christ has given to us. Through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us who believe in Him, we have the ability to reflect the love of Christ to others.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” —Galatians 5:25

We can embody each one of these fruits because of who we are in Christ; we are who we are in Christ because He first loved us. It was believing in that love that transformed my life. He didn’t come to change my flesh but to give me a new nature by which I could now live by.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! —2 Corinthians 5:17

This is what the Cross and Easter represent.

Because I know this truth to be real, I’ve stopped trying to strive to be the person that I thought God wanted me to be. I’ve started to live knowing that I’m the person who He says I am. Instead of putting my effort into controlling my own life, the effort that I put forth is a response to Jesus’ love for me. Everyday we wake up is a response to the love that we see displayed on Easter. This love doesn’t go away, even on my worst day. It’s there. When I mess up, I know that all I have to do is fix my eyes on my Savior. And as I engage in the Word of God, I’m breathing in the breath of life—the brand new life that I’m living in Christ.

It’s taken 30 years to get to the place where I can really see what Easter means and the power of Jesus first loving me. I don’t look back to beat myself up about my past but instead to realize that I’m on a journey, and God’s grace has been in the middle of it the whole time. I’m still on that journey today and I’m enjoying it more and more each day as I walk it with Christ.

Christ did not display His love on the Cross only for me; this was done for my wife, my kids, my grandkids, and all the people that I engage with in life every day. The more I remind myself of this truth, the more I am able to embrace the reality of this story and find joy in serving and loving others. I want to extend the same grace to others that Christ has extended to me.

There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. The more I focus on responding to the amazing love that He’s given me, hopefully, the more like Christ I will become through His Spirit.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” —Romans 8:1-2

—Dave Dravecky

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