Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 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. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:7-12
The Greatest of these is love! 1 Corinthians 13:13
Love confirms the authenticity of Jesus! Love confirms the authenticity of Jesus’ followers! The Question for us all is, how is love displayed in you? How can it be more so?
The love that Christ has for us is demonstrated by His ultimate sacrifice. All He asks of us is to receive Him and His love so we can play it forward to others, to show His love by our display of love so we succeed at His will. His love is what causes us to know Him and His love working in and out of us causes us to make Him known to others even more so. We were sinners; now because of His love we are His people united to Him, reconciled to God, and filled with the Spirit. Now, this love becomes the process of ours and others continued blessings. All it takes is our dedication to Christ, so we can respond by faith, worship, and spiritual formation to carry on His love. This is what the Christian life is all about—growing in Christ. It is the our life-long process of discipleship and spiritual growth that builds our faith and knowledge in Him so we can take a hold of His love and produces even more of it back to Him and onto others. This helps us with our assurance, maturity, character, and spiritual formation. We become changed because we have received Christ and we can keep loving. If not, there is something fundamentally wrong in our Christian operating system, because love helps us sees more hope and reassurance of faith (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 5; Heb. 10: 26-39; 12:14; 2 Pet. 1: 5-11).
· Love one another. This means sacrificial, unselfish, determined love; the change is from “neighbor” to “one another” to make sure the theme is community. Love confirms the genuineness of Jesus and us as followers! This is also a template on the importance and value of friendships (Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27; John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; Rom. 12:10; 13:8; 14:13; 1 Thess. 3:12; 4:9; 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 3:22; 4:8; 23; 4:7, 11-12; 2 John 1: 5)!
· Love is/Charity. The Greek word is Agape, which means “self giving” and “sacrificial,” that is more concerned with others than self. It was used in Classic Greek literature to refer to someone who was generously favored by a god. It conveys the idea of a person giving all his or her love, or favor, to someone else rather than to self. It is a love that is not earned; in contrast, it is relational and given freely. It also refers to parents giving all of their love to their child. In the New Testament, agape love was used to make a similar point, as God gives to each of us all of His love. It is a love that is bestowed without expectations of a response from the other. Agape love is also the most common word used both as a noun and a verb in the New Testament. The greatest example of agape love is what our Lord Jesus Christ did when He died for our sins. Consequently, God’s agape love gave us His forbearance and rescue from the punishment that we deserved. Rather than receiving what we should have, we received His favor without earning it. The word Charity, used in the KJV and other translations, is a poor word rendering and does not reflect the sacrificial nature of the Greek word (Deut. 6:5; Joshua 24:14 -15; Isa. 44:9-20; Mark 12:28-31; John 3:16; 21:16; Matt. 22:34-40; John 3:16; 13:1, 34-35; 14:1; 15:9; Rom. 1:31; 5:8-10; 8; 12:10; 13:11-14; 1 Cor. 7:32-35; 13; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5 Gal. 5:5; Eph. 2:4-7; Phil. 2:2; Col. 1:1-6; 3:5, 12-14; , 12-14; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2:8; 3:6; 12; 4:9-10; 5:8-13; 2 Tim. 3:3; Heb. 10:24; 1 John 4:7-12).
When we love one another, we prove and exhibit Christ! We become His display case, His product demonstrators. This is our “mark,” the prime characteristic that makes us friendly and connectable to others, and how we are to be known-by what Christ does with us and calls us to. We are to love one another-period! No strings attached! This is the mold for the form that we use to display God’s love to the world (John 13:34-35; 15:13-17; Gal. 5:22; 1 John 2:10; 3:14-16)!
A love that is great means that we have a love from God that in turn must be our pattern and plan for all we are and do. If love is to be great in us, as it is by what Christ has given us, it must take us beyond our self-interests. If not, all that remained in us would be lust or envy and not real love! Then, as the passage starts off with, all we are would be just an annoying noise that had no reason or purpose. Love is the greatest because out of true love, God the Father gave us His Son, and the Son gave us His life as a replacement for ours. The Son sent the Spirit to us, and we should be literally overwhelmed and consumed with extreme joy and gratitude by what God has done for us. Then in turn, we can pass this love on to others.
Love also comes about by our trust in Christ that should show up as gratitude and a life well lived out. We can easily do this when we see what He has for us and then we can trust in what lies ahead for us. And of course, what awaits us in the eternity of Heaven is more than a carrot on a stick. We need to realize that what we have is incredible and what we will have is absolutely beyond words! Astonishing! This helps us see that hope fuels our joy because of what He has done and what He has for us to come.
God is kind to us and Love fuels our assurance that He will continue to be so; then, we can be kind to others. When God is patient with us, then we are patient with others and so forth. It is really simple; the perplexing problem is why are we not doing a better job at this in our homes and churches as well as our schools and workplaces and the place where we are in life? We have to be Christ’s faithful servants in order to help further the Kingdom and glorify Christ our Lord! Because His great love is in us, we see His wonders at work; then, we can display His love through our lives. Love is the call He has given to us! Further, we are not alone in this; we have His Holy Spirit to enable and empower us! So, what is stopping us?
The proof of Love is not what we say about it; it is how we live it out, with faith, love, and because we are all linked and interconnected. Living obedience and gratitude must pour from the true believer for love to be displayed so to outlive and out love the world to show the world the sacrificial love of our Lord. Love confirms the authenticity of Jesus! Love confirms the authenticity of Jesus’ followers (Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27; John 13:31-35; 15:12-13, 17; 1 Cor. 13:3; Rom. 12:10; 13:8; 14:13; 1 Thess. 3:12; 4:9; 2 Thess. 1:3; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 3:22; 4:8; 23; 4:7, 11-12; 2 John 1: 5)!
When love is practiced, our relationships are certain to succeed. When we practice love, we are both trusting and obeying our Lord, doing His prime will. We can take to heart that the love we give will never be defeated, no matter how poorly people treat us in return, or, only appear to be playing their part. When we give love and it is not returned, the hurt and rejection we receive is not in vain. We may feel hurt, confused, and not understand what has happened or why we did not succeed. But, in God’s eyes, we did succeed. Our time of giving love did not go to waste! We all, at some time, will experience love for someone who does not return it to us; perhaps you were even the one who did not return it to someone else. There are a multitude of reasons for that. Maybe the love was not meant to be; perhaps he/she was the wrong person for you. Maybe you got your signals crossed, or maybe you were too afraid to take the chance. Maybe the fear of being rejected consumed you, so, you are alone now. Your hurt has become your identity, while love and relationships go unmet and undone. If this is your life, remember: Love is never offered in vain. Your hurt has not been borne alone!
If you love the Lord, then you will trust and obey Him, because real love is evidenced by gratitude and obedience, and because there is no other way! You will follow His precepts and commands with full faith and due diligence. This is a necessity for life because the world does not know God or His ways and He must be displayed in you for others to see as He was presented by Christ for all to see. People will not even look for real truth or the real God, so they must see Him and His love in you.
- Why is real, authentic Love the greatest thing we could ever have or do? Why is this important? What have you done with this truth?
- How does understanding love help you deal with personal relationship problems?
- How and why does Love confirm the authenticity of Jesus? How and why does Love confirm the authenticity of Jesus’ followers? How is this displayed in you? How can it be more so?
- Take a look at each of the aspects of Love in this 1 Corinthians 13 passage; now, replace the word “love” with “Jesus!” For example…Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind…; what does this do for you? How does this give you a glimpse into His character? How does this motivate you to be His vibrant display?
© 2000, 2010, R.J. Krejcir