Years ago there was a very popular song by Tina Turner entitled, ” What`s love got to do with it?” One line in the song is this; ” what`s love but a second-hand emotion?” In reality, that is a gross misrepresentation of the word love and yet many people may feel the same way. We may think that love comes and goes like the wind and we have no control because love is just some fleeting feeling or passion.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5
What is Love
Perhaps it is easier to define if we first eliminate what love is not. Love is not a feeling or an emotion even though it may be the effects of love. Love is not something that pleases our flesh or selfish lusts. Of course, there is a worldly, self-serving, and selfish love that exists. But that is not the kind of love that God has given to us or that He has commanded Christians to live by.
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44,45
What we Love
We can love money, power, or ourselves if we so choose. However, the results of this worldly love are evident everywhere we look in our world and culture today. “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” The love of self ignores our command to love others as we should and seeks our interests above all others which is in direct disobedience to the word of God which commands us to esteem others better than ourselves, and look out for the interests of others and not just our own.
How can we as Christians be known for our love when we have so foolishly patterned our love after the world? We think love means we cannot stand up for truth for fear of offending someone or risking being labeled as intolerant or as an extremist. Wicked and perverse ideologies devoid of truth and reason have dominated not only the lost, but believers. This has allowed for distorted and harmful views of what love is. To love as God loves, we must also hate what God hates. So, just as we can love in the wrong way, we can also love the wrong things.
15 “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. 16 For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one`s possessions is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever. ” 1 John 2:15-17
The Bible has much to say about love because, after all, God is love. There is a very descriptive passage of scripture that describes love for us so that we can know for sure what real love is. 1 Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter and rightly so. It is beautiful and convicting to the reader as God describes real love.
1” If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. “ Corinthians 13:1-8
The good news is that God`s love is not some random, inconsistent feeling or emotion that is here today and gone tomorrow. No, God`s love is true, sure, and everlasting.
Love One Another
7 “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
9 “God`s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.
12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another God remains in us, and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of His Spirit.“
14 “And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son as the world`s Savior. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God-God remains in him and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.“
17 “In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love.”
19 “We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” 21 “And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.”
1“ Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of him. 2 This is how we know that we love God`s children; when we love God and we obey his commands.”
3 “For this is what love for God is; to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden, 4 because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.” 1 John 4:7-21, 5:1-4
Nothing Can Separate us From God`s Love
35 ” Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: Because of you we are being put to death all day long; We are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35-39
(Christian Standard Bible)
The greatest commandments according to Jesus both have to do with love. (Matt. 22:37-40) The first, found in Deuteronomy is this; ‘You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your might.” And while it may be easy for us to say we love God, the proof is in the reality of our obedience to Him. Jesus loved us first. (1 John 4:19) He proved his love to us by laying down his life. (1 John 3:12) (Romans 5:8). Jude tells us that we are to keep ourselves in the love of God as we wait for His return.
The second greatest command is to love our neighbor as ourselves. In our flesh, we love ourselves far above God and our neighbors. True love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, (Gal.5:22) and is evident in the life of all true believers who are born again. the idea that we can hate people and still love God is squashed in the book of first John. The world says to treat people the same way they treat you, or if they wrong you somehow, treat them worse. Christ said we are to love our enemies and pray for those who spitefully use us. That is not something we would imagine or consider in our fallen state, but as Christians, we have the Holy Spirit of God who helps us with our weaknesses.
If we are to love God and our neighbors as Christ has commanded us, then we must abide in Christ because our flesh simply cannot produce the love of God.
A few verses in the bible about love
“But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. So that in the coming ages, he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7
“Let love be genuine, arbor what is evil; hold fast what is good.” Romans 12:9
” Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
“For the love of Christ controls us.” 2 Corinthians 5:14
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