“What’s love got to do with it?”
“All men will know that you are my disciples by your love.” “Love does no wrong to his
neighbor.” “Love is the fulfillment of the Law with its commandments.” What does love mean? Sometimes you can derive at a meaning better by asking what the opposite of love is or rather what love is not (See my post on 1 Jn 3). We in the west have made love about emotionalism, whereas the Biblical meaning of love is an action where one person yields up his rights, perspectives, interests, and even his/her life for another. Emotions can flow from this sort of action over time but is not a requirement for it (although it does make it more enjoyable). Arranged marriages of the old days were based on commitments to each other, and then emotional love blossomed as a result of continued commitment (see my post on Eph 5). God himself was not content to just tell us he loved us, rather he demonstrated his love toward us. This is what is missing in today’s society’s concept of love.
And now I will show you the most excellent way.
1 Cor 13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God of Love. The love that I give to you is supernatural not just the natural outpouring of your emotions. I AM love incarnate. I love you so much that I came and died to set you free that someday you may find me and love me in return for eternity. I love you whether or not you will love me back. I love you in spite of the fact that you are like Alzheimer patients forgetful of whom I AM. Because of my love for you, everything that happens to you in this life is to make you realize how much you need me. I am wooing you back to me like a forsaken lover, or like a forgotten Father. It is not like I need you, but that I know that you need me.
I AM the God of love. You cannot love others except for the love that I put into your hearts by my Spirit, for love is the fruit of the Spirit. My love is unconditional. My love is giving without expectation to receive. My love can give to your enemy just as quickly as to your friend. My love lays down its life for others. My kind of love will cost you everything.
“Agape love” is a fruit of the Spirit
Agape love is unconditional self sacrificing love. It expects nothing in return and is the love that God has for humans. It is not the same as brotherly love or physical love. It is what Christian love is about. It is a catch 22 as it is commanded by God to give, but is not something that our selfish human natures can conjure up. This is why God has to love through us as we are filled and controlled by the Spirit. This is how Jesus can expect us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. This is how we can forgive 70 times 7 times. This is how we can lay down our lives for others. This is how all men will know that you are Jesus’ disciples. What is the secret? Unless you are confident in the Love of God towards you, and that God has your back in every trial and circumstance of life, you will always try to protect yourself from putting yourself out there for others. To use an illustration from the frozen lake, you will be sprawled out on your belly slithering your way across the ice rather than striding or skating across. The difference knows that the ice is adequate to support you. How well do you know the love of God to you? Only then can you love others with his love.
More to come,