Love. One of my favorite words. Four letters, L-O-V-E, one syllable. Easy to say and easy to do. At least it should be easy to do. But most people have a hard giving love and a harder time receiving love.
I have always thought of myself as a "lover". I have claimed to love everyone, even those I did not know, and hate no one. I thought I was obeying God's command when he said, "love your neighbor". Then one day I paid attention to the entire verse. "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31). Love myself? Of course I love myself, don't I? Well, let's think about this. When you love someone, you want what is best for them. You build them up. You keep them safe. You want them to succeed and encourage their endeavors. You would never purposely harm them. You want them to feel good about themselves. So if I love myself, I should treat myself this way. I know for myself, I don't always do what is best for me. I have done harmful things to myself and kept myself from succeeding. I tell myself terrible things and usually believe me. And I rarely feel good about myself. So if I am not showing love to myself, am I really loving my neighbor?
What does the Bible say about love? 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 says,
"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.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 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. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away."
Love never fails? True love- God - never fails. Every quality listed in 1 Corinthians 13 is a description of Jesus and although none of us are Jesus, He is who we should all strive to be. His life of love is the example of how we should be living.
Mark 12:28-31 reads,
"And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
God loves us and He expects us to pour all of our love back into loving Him. He commanded us to love Him. And why should be we love God with our entire being? He created us. We would have nothing without Him. Even when we turn our backs on Him, He shows us love. He doesn't have, He wants to. The Creator gave us life and loves us fiercely! That just blows my mind! I don't deserve it, yet He gives it freely.
John 3:16-17 tells us,
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Did you get that? God loves us so much that He wouldn't let sin get in the way of a relationship. He doesn't want us hurting and dying. He made a way to forgive us of sin and He gave us His only Son to save us. We did nothing to deserve that kind of love. Jesus walked this world telling the truth and sharing His love knowing that He would die. He was willing to be killed in order to save us. That is the greatest love.
1 John 4:19-21 reads,
"We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother”
We love because He first loved us! We were made to love. He loves us, we love Him, we love others. There you have it.