I read an article this week where a pastor said to his congregation, "If you have a hard time loving people then you probably don't love God as much as you think you do. Your ability to love people is a direct reflection of your love for God." Man, how many of us can relate to hearing that at some point? How many of us have ever heard, "Get saved, start a quiet time, go to church, pray and fast? We know faith without deeds is dead so deed up baby! Let's all show God we are serious about loving Him! Oh and don't forget we are also commanded to love our neighbors too!"
The problem is that we cannot give away something we have not received! 1 John 4:19 says, "We love because He first loved us!" Wow! God is willing and able to supply us the love we need to love Him and others with? Yes indeed. When we try in our own efforts to love without first receiving love from God, is it any wonder we find ourselves to be more rude than kind, depressed than joyful, wounding others than healing them? The love of God is not only first received, it is of Him and not of us! God's love is supernatural and not easily conjured or copied by a human being. Perhaps we need to start each day with the simple goal of "Being loved by God and knowing and believing the love He has for us." before we venture out into all the deeds and works we have heard about. As we regularly experience God's love for us (first), we will cease from striving to worship, striving to witness, striving to pray, or even striving to love Him; they will come as a byproduct of being filled up with God's fullness.