DEFINITION: Love is a feeling of tender affection and devotion for someone. First Corinthians chapter 13 provides a complete biblical definition of love. The problems you may experience in the area of love are an inability to understand and receive God’s love, love Him in return, and love others–including your enemies and the unlovable.
FACTS ABOUT LOVE:
God is a God of love. He loves you and loves through you. “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 4:8-12). Love originated with God (1 John 4:7). He shows His love by saving, healing, and comforting you and by supplying all of your needs. God even demonstrates His love when it is necessary to chastise and correct you (Hebrews 12:6).
Some people question why they suffer if God loves them. It is because we live in a sinful, fallen world where bad things happen. Just because you are a believer does not mean you are immune to adversity. You will not understand everything that happens to you (Deuteronomy 29:29), but God has promised to work all things–the good and the bad–together for your good (Romans 8:28). You also can develop positive spiritual virtues in times of adversity (1 Peter 5:10).
True love was not really understood until Calvary. The death of Jesus on the cross redefined the meaning of love: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). God so loved the world that He sacrificed His only Son to die for the sins of all mankind (John 3:16).
You love because you are loved. We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:10).
Love identifies you as a true believer: Jesus commanded that you love others and said your love would identify you as a believer: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). If you are hostile in your interactions with others, you are not demonstrating the love of God that should be the identifying characteristic of your life.
God’s Word rests on the foundation of love. The entire revelation of God’s Word rests upon this premise: “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).
The Bible says you must love others so that you can properly love God. “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:19-21).
Scriptures direct you to love your enemies. Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…” (Matthew 19:43-45).
Love is the most important Christian virtue. It is a Fruit of the Holy Spirit that is to be manifested in all believers (Galatians 5:22). It is greater than any other spiritual quality in a believer’s life (1 Corinthians 13).
Love is the opposite of lust. Love is a strong feeling of affection for another person, while lust centers on meeting your own personal desires. Love is a pure feeling coming from a pure heart. Lust is a passion for something that is wrong and comes from an evil heart. True love would never ask you to do something contrary to God’s Word or anything that would be hurtful or violate your conscience.
You demonstrate your love for God by loving others (1 John 4:21); through devotion to His will and His Word (Psalm 40:8); time spent with Him in prayer (Jeremiah 29:12-14); and your service for Him (1 Corinthians 15:58).
DEALING WITH LOVE:
Confess your lack of love and your need for the love to God to be manifested in your life. Barriers to love include jealousy, pride, bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness, conceit, selfishness, etc. Search your heart and ask God to forgive these attitudes if they are present in your life.
Forgive those who have wronged you. This is the first step towards fulfilling the command to love your enemies.
Make a declaration that you will love God (Deuteronomy 6:5) and love others unconditionally (Matthew 19:43-45). Love is first an act of the will, not an emotion. Remember that confession is not only necessary for salvation, it is also required for other spiritual attainments as well. Just as you first confessed Christ and then learned to live a new life in Him, you must first confess your love for God and others and then learn how to live this love out on a daily basis.
Study 1 Corinthians 13. It is the most complete biblical definition of love. Ask God for these qualities of love to be manifested in your life.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT LOVE:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. (Deuteronomy 11:1)
Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. (Proverbs 10:12)
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven… (Matthew 19:43-45)
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)
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:27-31)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. (John 15:9-14)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:9-10)
1 Corinthians chapter 13
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25)
Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. (1 Thessalonians 4:9)
Keep on loving each other as brothers. (Hebrews 13:1)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)
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. (1 John 4:7-11)
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:19-21)
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome. (1 John 5:1-3)
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. (2 John 6)