Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
To know God is to know that He is love, all love is from Him, and exercised by actively loving one another. If we are not vigorously loving people the way God loves people, then we don’t know Him. To know God is to love His people the way He loves.
We can do some amazing things in God’s name and by His power, but compared to love, they are nothing and without love they are meaningless. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 reads,
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Since we are human, we have likely not experienced perfect love from people. We needed an example of what love is; Jesus is that example and we are able to love only because He has given us His Spirit. Perfect love is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. This is what we aspire to, this is the image of Christ to which we are being conformed.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never ends.
None of that is easy. To be patient is one of the most difficult things to learn. Kindness takes mercy, self-sacrifice, and humility. It is just not possible without the Holy Spirit. When we love we don’t envy, we know that God’s grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) that God is more than enough and we rejoice in unity and with one another for the good things and weep with one another for the sorrowful (Romans 12:15). There just can’t be arrogance in real love which not only considers others as better than ourselves (Romans 12:3) but recognizes that God loves other people just as much as He loves us, that He created them and that like us, they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14. The only competition in real love is the contest to outdo one another in honoring each other (Romans 12:10). We won’t be offensive, we won’t insist on our own way because what we want is God’s way and we know that His purpose will be achieved (Isaiah 55:11). Love never celebrates sin, instead it applauds truth.
Love bears all things and endures all things. We may say we love but when someone does us wrong, love flies out the window, we no longer tolerate that person. What if Jesus had not been willing to bear all things and endure all things? Look at what he suffered for us! Because He loves us He not only endured the cross, He did so with joy! Hebrews 12:1-3 says,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
That is love! Jesus asked us to love each other just He loved us and He defined the highest love this way,
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13).
Love endures all things because it is eternal, it does not go away and does not fade. One day, there will be no more need of prophecy, tongues, or healing. All that will remain is love, faith, and hope. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Look back at the description of love, it is patient, kind, humble, it rejoices, endures, and is not arrogant or rude. To me, it sounds a lot like the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 reads,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
There is no law against the Spirit-filled life of love because all the law and the prophets are summed up in two commandments.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27).
How else is love defined in the Bible? 1 John 5:1-3 is one of several passages that explain that loving God means keeping His commandments.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
God loves us and He loves us in the ultimate and loftiest way possible. He loves us enough to discipline us (Proverbs 3:12). He loves us so much that He thinks of us more than you can fathom. Psalm 139:17-18 reads,
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
Beloved, God is love and you are being conformed to His image. Because you understand who God is and who you are in Him, love can flow through you like springs of living waters bringing love, healing and life to everyone you come into contact with.