Sometimes our posture toward obedience (and seeking God’s glory) has an undercurrent that suggests God needs us to do something for Him. That God wants glory and it would be really nice of us to give it to Him, to help Him out.

This verse makes it clear that we are not the source of love. It is not within us to first bestow love upon God. Rather, the beginning of love is that God loved us before we had or could do anything for Him. He loved us while we were still sinners, and atoned for our sins through the death of His Son.

We cannot fulfill a need God has because God has no needs. He is all-sufficient. God desires our love, but does not in any way need our love. Why then does God command us to love Him? A couple verses later, 1 John 12:4 says this: “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” 

Loving God leads to loving others. This restores harmony to creation.God’s love is now “perfected” or complete. It moves us back toward God’s original design, when He created all that was made and pronounced it to be “very good.” 

God is the beginning and end of all things, including love. Amazingly, He uses us in the middle. But God gives us the choice whether to participate. We have been granted the amazing opportunity to reflect His glory. When we love others through small steps of faith, we restore His creation in small bits to its original, harmonious reality. When we love others in the same manner as we love ourselves we reflect the way God loves us.

We are, thankfully, objects of God’s love. When we love others, it is our great privilege to also be conduits of His love.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
– 1 John 4:10