Love is one of my favorite topics. Not only because I’m a sucker for a good rom com, but because it is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us. The best way to begin to understand God’s love is to go to the word.
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
1 John 4:7-21
The first command in this scripture is to love one another because love is from God and God is love. If we talk about how much we love God, yet we don’t love others, how can we really love Him? Love is the foundation of everything.
Verse 12 is my favorite verse in this passage because it says that even though no one has seen God, He remains in us when we love others. Also, His love is made complete in us–this means that God’s love has reached it’s intended goal when it flows from God, through us, to our fellow believers. The love that God has given us must be extended to others. [Verse 12 commentary is from Bible Gateway]
I have two ways [I do have more, but two are relevant to this passage] for me to remain in Him and they have been very helpful for my growth with the Lord. The first way is to love one another. I know I’m guilty of showing love to those who are hard to love. It truly is difficult to love others who are hard to love, but if the Lord can love me even when I disobey Him, then I can certainly love them. The second way is to talk to Him. We have His spirit and the ability to sit and be with the Lord in prayer. It is always a sweet time to be with the Lord–confessing to Him, thanking Him for all He’s done, and to praise Him for who He is.
Love is not what God does, it is who He is.
The Types of Love
- Eros: the intimate or romantic love
- Storge: love for your family
- Phileo: friendship kind of love
- Agape: selfless love–to love undeserving, despite disappointment and rejection.
Agape is the kind of love God has for us in which we are commanded to have for one another. Our expression of agape love is only a small portion of the amount God has for us. The greatest example of agape love is God sending His only son–Jesus Christ–to earth in human flesh to die on the cross for our sins.
“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15
“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'” Jeremiah 31:3
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13: 34-35
The Bible also explains what love is in 1 Corinthians 13. Yes, this is the “Love Chapter” and it is read at weddings quite often, but it is an excellent source to check yourself to see if you are loving by God’s standards.
If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have 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 do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have 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 does not dishonor others, 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 completeness comes, what is in part 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 the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a 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.
1 Corinthians 13
This passage really gets me to thinking about what love actually is. Love is an action, not a feeling. Love should be the foundation of your relationships with people. They say love is the international language but it’s true. Every person on earth has the capability to understand love no matter where we’re from or what language we speak. We understand it by actions. We are all loved by God and if we can show that love to others, then we can show God to others. An act of love doesn’t have to be this giant thing. We can show love by how we act towards others and how we treat them.
In Philippians 1:3-11, Paul is writing and praying for the Philippians. My prayer for you is verses 9-11.
9And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.