Love is a popular topic to discuss in the modern day. Mainstream Hollywood presents love in a radically different way than the truth of love in the Bible. Popular mainstream culture presents love as being lustful, infatuation, and a feeling; however, true love in the Bible is presented to us differently. Love, according to the Bible, is putting someone else in front of you just as Jesus died for us.
What Is True Love?
Love is not based on feelings or how a person looks. Rather, love is an intentional choice. You can love somebody without liking them. In fact, God tells us to love all people. Jesus tells us, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:12-13).
There will be many people we will encounter in our lives that we just don’t like, but we still have to love them. As Christians, we should not hate anyone. We are to love others just as Jesus loved us. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us the true description of love.
Paul describes love as being patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, not dishonoring, not self-seeking, not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). Paul continues by saying, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7).
Love never ever fails (1 Corinthians 13:8a). Even when everything else in our life might pass away, God’s love never goes away or ends. God’s love is different from mankind’s love. Within humanity, the level of our love seems to fluctuate depending on how we are feeling if the person wronged us, or another reason as to why the person has upset us.
God’s love is different because it is agape love, which is unconditional and never changing. The love God has for us doesn’t change depending on what we do or don’t do. God’s love is based on His true, caring, and loving heart.
Even when others might grow upset with us or stop loving us, God never does. His love is steadfast, secure, and firm. From our best days to our worst days, God still loves us unconditionally.
The agape love God has for us is unique and superior to all of the other types of love. The greatest demonstration of God’s agape love is when Jesus died on the cross for our sins (John 3:16-17; Isaiah 53:5). God loved us so much that He willingly sent His Son to die for the world.
Ever since the Fall of Man, humanity has been separated from God and has had a broken relationship with Him. It is only by Jesus’ death on the cross and placing faith in Him that we can have a restored relationship with Him.
Prior to us placing faith in Christ, God still loves us. Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” When God created mankind, He created us special. He gave us free will, the ability to feel emotions, and the ability to take care of all that He entrusted to us.
From the time God created Adam and Eve, He loved them. After Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden and fell, God could have completely destroyed mankind and never create another human being again, but due to His immense love for mankind, He covered Adam and Eve’s guilt with animal hides and disciplined them by casting them out of the Garden, albeit with several consequences of sin (Genesis 3:1-24).
God chose to give us a second chance and provided us with the free gift of salvation by placing faith in Christ. The Lord didn’t make it difficult for us to know Him, place faith in Him, and receive redemption as all we have to do is place faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9).
God could have made it difficult for us to obtain salvation by following rules; however, He only requires us to place faith in Him. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Salvation from God is a free gift that is available to all. God wants all people to be saved, not just a select few (1 Timothy 2:4).
What Is the Love We Are to Extend to Others?
Since God is love, we also are to love one another (1 John 4:16; John 13:34). Loving one another needs to become second nature for Christians. The type of love between believers should be that we genuinely care about one another.
Love for others is more than merely “I’ll pray for you.” Sincere love for one another means placing the other person’s interest above your own. Love does not harm its neighbor nor is it jealous of another person.
If we examine ourselves and are honest, we will be better equipped at knowing if we are loving others as we should. Loving others can be hard at times, but it is what we are to do. As we grow in our relationship with Christ, a natural outflow of our faith should be extending love to others.
Paul tells us, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). As we grow in our Christian walk, the fruits of the Holy Spirit will start being produced in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).
One of the fruits of the Spirit is love. This means that over time, the more we grow in our relationship with Christ, the easier it will be to love one another because it will be almost second nature to us. We will extend love to others because God has extended His love to us.
In the future, God’s love will continue to shine brightly in our lives. When the New Earth and New Heaven are established by God, there will only be happiness, peace, and love. There will be no more pain, crying, or death (Revelation 21:4).
Things will finally be as they were originally supposed to be before the Fall of man. All of this will happen because of God’s great love for us. Throughout our lives, we may come across many people we love in a romantic sense; however, our true love will always be God.
The love God has for us will never waiver or fade away. As we continue through our journey in life, God’s love will continue to pour out into our lives and with the same love God puts into our lives, we can extend it to others.
What Does This Mean?
Love is powerful and it is a game-changer. If we all chose to love as God commands us to, the world would be a much better place. Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday where we extend love to others in the form of gifts, chocolates, and cards.
While these gestures are nice, what would it look like if we radically loved others as Jesus commanded us? Valentine’s Day is a holiday known for extending love to others, but what if we made the intentional decision to love each other every day — not just on a man-made holiday?
Extending love can be hard at times, but God urges us to love others just as He loves us. May this upcoming Valentine’s Day remind you of God’s great love that He has for you. Even if you are alone this Valentine’s, God’s great love for you will always remain steadfast and true.
2/16/22 Wednesday’s Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
(Do we realize that God has a pattern for success or failure and if we are obedient to its guidance, we will flourish like a tree planted by water, always green and healthy? On the other hand, one planted where there is no water to quench its thirst and provide fuel for its growth, will die. But how do we know when the season for every activity is right or wrong? Just as that tree that is planted by water grows and prospers from water’s life-giving properties, we too have water to make us healthy and wise. The Bible describes the Holy Spirit who now lives in us as water, and Ezekiel describes to Israel how the coming of the Spirit will change them: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit in you: I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God” (Ezek. 36:24-28). What a beautiful promise to a people who knew God only through obedience to the divine law, not yet knowing the saving grace of their God through faith in the Son he would send to give them eternal life. But we do, because the Son – Jesus Christ has come, he has died and was resurrected from the dead to cleanse us from our sin and that idol worship, to give us a new life and a new heart and to provide us with that life-giving water – his Holy Spirit! He promised: “It is for your good I am going away. Unless I go away the Counselor will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you, (John 16:6,7) and he has kept his word! That Counselor is the Holy Spirit who came on the Day of Pentecost with wind and fire and with marvelous gifts for service – wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, recognizing spirits, a new language – tongues and is interpretation which is a direct line to the throne as the Spirit carries prayers of pure requests without our own thoughts influencing them with our own desires, which may be silly and full of how we believe God should answer. As if we need to advise the Creator of the Universe how to improve his perfect plans! We have been given evidence to illustrate the different life lived by one who lived by God’s perfect season and one who lived for his own desires – Peter and Judas. Peter is the perfect illustration of a changed life that was dedicated and devoted to following where his Lord led while Judas was controlled by his own selfish desires, even to the point of the betrayal of the One who he pretended was his Master and who loved him so much that he willingly died for him. We are not perfect and will make many mistakes, but we have a promise that the Holy Spirit makes real in our hearts “At least there is hope for a tree; if it is cut down it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. It’s roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant” (Job 14:7-9). There IS a time for every season under heaven, let us be tuned to that frequency as the Holy Spirit makes known God’s right season for everything!)