A short, but powerful passage found in 1 John 4:19 says,

“We love because he first loved us.”

Those seven words in the ESV or NASB are at the very foundation of our Christianity. We love, not because we want God to make our lives better on this earth or so that He will let us into Heaven, but we love because He first loved us. Our motivation to love our God and to serve Him comes simply from Him loving us first!

Although we will never be able to repay the love He has shown us, those of us who choose to live as children of God on this earth can seek to ‘excel’ in our love for Him with each new day He gives us.

John says in 1 John 3:1,

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…”

There is no greater way to live this life on earth than as a child of God. It’s extraordinary to think that He would allow us to not only be called His children but to be His children, a people for His possession (1 Peter 2:9). As we grow in our understanding of our God and His love, our love for Him will naturally grow.

To Excel in Our Love for God:

We must make sure He is the Lord and Master of our life.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:24,

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

There is room for only one King in our lives. Loving the Lord and loving the world at the same time is impossible. Especially with all the distractions found in the world, we must make sure that we genuinely love our God and are completely devoted to Him. In 1 John 2:15, John gives this command,

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

God doesn’t want us to share our hearts with this world and the reality is, if we give our heart to something of this world, we have nothing left to give to God!

We must remember what He has done.

The apostle Paul wrote to the saints in Rome and said,

“but, God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” …Romans 5:8

Although we were all sinners at the time, Paul says, God showed His love for us by allowing Christ to die. We can never forget His love and what He has done through Jesus!

We must remember what He is doing.

If we continue to, “

“walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin“… 1 John 1:7

Fellowship is made possible for all those who belong to God, and as long as a person is in Christ and willing to,

confess their sin, then our God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness“…1 John 1:9

Finally, we must remember what God will do.

God will provide,

“an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you”1 Peter 1:4

Because Paul had fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith, and because He trusted in His faithful God, he could say with confidence,

“Henceforth, there is a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge will award to me on that Day and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” …2 Timothy 4:7-8

God’s love has provided an eternal inheritance that will be enjoyed by those who continue to grow in their love for Him.

Excelling in our love for God comes when we are thankful for His love and for how His love has changed our lives. We choose to love and serve Him because He first loved us!

To God Be the Glory!

Excel Still More!

Billy Clabaugh
Author | + posts

Billy, his wife Shayla, and their son Caleb live in Sayre, Oklahoma where he has been blessed to preach since 2012. He has a bachelor’s degree in Math Education from Oklahoma Christian University and a master’s degree in Sports Administration from Eastern New Mexico University. He enjoys reading, watching the Oklahoma Sooners, spending time with his family, and serving in the Kingdom of God.  Billy also serves on the board of directors for Excel Still More and is a regular speaker and writer for the workshop and other publications.