People have many different ideas about what love is from fondness, to a deep emotional bond, to passion. We are social creatures and all of these forms of human love come from our basic need to connect with others. Needy love always disappoints because human love can’t completely satisfy its own need. Emotional bonds are easily broken and passion burns itself out, leaving those needing a lasting connection wanting. Everyone wants the security of an eternal love but nothing human can last. The only kind of love that can assuage human longing is the love of God who is Love. Accepting God’s love by accepting Jesus as Savior is the only way to fill our deep need for security with an everlasting love. Choosing to love others as we are loved is also, the path to increasing the joy found in Jesus.
God demonstrated His love for us by sending His Son to save us, even though human beings had turned against Him. He chose to set aside His right to destroy His enemies, when destruction is what human beings deserve. He sent His Son as a sacrifice and an ultimate expression of His love for His created children even though, most don’t even acknowledge His loving action. God doesn’t love us for what He will get from us in return but instead, He loves because He is Love. By loving sinners, God expresses His character. Those of us who follow Jesus must make the same kind of sacrificial choice to love others not from ourselves but from His divine love that is imparted to us through faith in Jesus. We must choose to love others even when they never return our love or remain unchanged by it.
No matter how much we learn about God, no matter what works we achieve in His Name, if we fail to love all of it is worth nothing. No matter how great our faith, if we don’t love we will fail in glorifying God. No matter what we sacrifice for others, if we do it without the love of God then nothing is gained. If we neglect love then all of our teaching, testifying, preaching, correction, and prophesying are nothing but racket. It is the choice to love others as God loves us that fulfills the calling of every born-again child of God. When we choose to love as God loves, His righteous character is revealed to a lost and dying world. Jesus is the Man who perfectly demonstrated the character of God and when believers choose to love, Jesus works through them. By loving others, we fulfill the Law and the Words of the Prophets.
Demonstrating God’s character requires treating others with patience and kindness. It is not expressed by pridefully raising one’s self above others but acknowledges the equal value that God places on everyone. Divine love does not seek its own purpose but looks to fill the needs of others. It is long-suffering, slow to take offence, and doesn’t keep record of insults. It is truthful, despises evil, and always seeks to protect others. In divine love there is always hope because God is trustworthy and He doesn’t give up on those whom He loves. God’s love never runs out but lasts for all eternity. There is no spiritual or physical force greater than the love of Almighty God!
When believers neglect to love, we lose the main characteristic that sets us apart from the world. We lose purpose and become ineffectual in edifying one another and in making the saving power of Jesus known in the world. It is sin that causes love to grow cold and today, the church is rife with sin. The only cure is for each believer to turn from sin and return the focus on Jesus, our first love. He is the One who first made Love known to us and the One who empowers us to love others in the same way. Without Him we are nothing and have no hope of pleasing God or completing our purpose. Discouraged Christians are the most discouraging people of all and highly vulnerable without the joy that gives them resilience. Joy can’t live apart from God’s love. The power to change the world lives in us by our faith and that power is unleashed when we choose to love.
May God’s love increase through us and righteous joy abound!
I Corinthians 13:1-8