For a long while i did not know what my first post was going to be about, but since God’s commandments are summed up in love (Matthew 22:40), why not talk about this first.
What is love?
God is Love
Within the first quarter of the year, some friends and i deliberated on what love is at a cell meeting. One of the things we concluded on is that love is a person, and this person is God. So what does John mean when he writes that “God is love” in 1 John 4:8?
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Let’s look at another scripture by John…
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10 NIV
So when John says that God is love, he is saying that love is an expression of who God is (makes sense?). This is how i see it – the concept of God’s love is so huge that it cannot be limited to a definition. Also, we can’t talk about God’s love without talking about salvation.
Since the creation of man, God has been telling us one thing – “I love you”! I’ve heard it said once that the bible is God’s love letter to us (believers and non believers). He loves us so much that he created us in His image and entrusted us with everything he created (Genesis 1:26-31). Unfortunately, our birth right was sold to the devil when Adam disobeyed God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:1-7). In spite of this “scandal”, God did not forsake man; He still loved us as sinners. If He didn’t, He would not have made a covenant with Abraham, He would not have given Moses the law and He definitely would not have sent Jesus to save us from sin.
Love is patient, love is kind…
Again, because the meaning of love cannot be limited to a definition, Jesus himself had to illustrate it with parables in Luke 15 when the Pharisees did not understand why He entertained the company of sinners. In each of the three parables, that is, the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin and the parable of the lost son, we see that patience is applied in looking for each lost possession. In the case of the lost son, his father waited patiently for his return (Luke 15:20).
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13…
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV
Patience, kindness, humility, hope, forgiveness, justice, self-control, and perseverance are all expressions of love according to Paul. In the first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13 this is what he says prior to explaining what love is…
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 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. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV
By the grace of God, as believers we have been saved from sin and have been blessed with spiritual gifts such as tongue speaking, the gift of prophecy, and giving among others. However Paul tells us that we don’t benefit when we showcase these gifts without love. Imagine giving a prophecy to someone that he or she will be the next president of the World Bank with envy in your heart. It won’t benefit you because this envy breeding in your heart will “rot your bones” (these are obviously not my words 😁)
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Proverbs 14:30 NIV
Love is a command
Jesus in reponse to the Pharisee who wanted to know what the greatest commandment of the law was is this…
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:37-40 NIV
Love is a command and not a feeling. Unlike the law of Moses which the Israelites struggled to live by, the law of love is not burdensome at all because God lives in us (1 John 4:13-15). He empowers us to love. So in our struggle to forgive someone who has hurt us badly, let’s ask God for mercy and the grace to forgive that person. If we struggle to love, we need help and this help can be found at God’s throne of grace. God loves us so much that He has called us to come boldly to His throne of grace. He literally has an open door policy…
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 NIV
There is so much to learn about love – about God and I look forward to studying more and sharing with you what i learn about Him through the help of the Holy Spirit.
In the words of Joseph Prince, know that you are “greatly blessed, highly favoured and deeply loved” by God our father. His love is not ours to keep but to share with EVERYONE!