I encourage you to read Romans 5:1-8. Verse 8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The word commendeth means shows, proves, or exhibits. God proved His love, showed His love, exhibited His love; by Jesus dying for us when we were unlovely, unworthy, ungodly sinners. When we were rebellious and did nothing but provoke His wrath, Jesus died for us. God loves us. His love for us is overwhelming, passionate, and extravagant. If we are to truly know love, we must know God - for God is love (1Jn 4:8). Agape love - God’s kind of love - is selfless, sacrificial, and sanctified. It is pure and powerful. Love is what God is.
The greatest abiding virtue in the universe is love (1Cor 13:13). In eternity, we need neither faith nor hope, for we “know, even as we are known.” However, love is eternal. It abides forever, because God abides for ever - God is love. It’s been said, “It is better not to live, than not to love”. What is the point of a loveless life? The very fact we are loved by God gives us purpose. “Love, and do what you like” - St. Augustine. Indeed, agape love is the fulfillment of the law (Rom 13:10). That is a bold statement by Augustine, but it is true. IF everything you do is rooted in and motivated by God’s kind of love, you can do whatever you want. In absolute love, there is absolute freedom, and absolute trust.
Do you want to know a little secret on how to love people? Try to see people as God intended them to be, and not as they are. We can actually experience “loving our enemies (Mt 5:43-48)”, if we can do this. Look for their God-given gifts, and envision what glorious purposes God may have created them for.
Love is called the “Excellent way” (1Cor 12:31) - the way that excels. Spiritual gifts are wonderful and needful. God given talent and ability are great blessings. Good works should be the natural fruit of the Believer. However, as we read in 1Corinthians 13, none of it matters if it is not motivated by love. If you know all things, can literally move mountains, and even give your life for someone else - it means nothing if it’s not motivated by love. This shows us that motivation is more important than action. The following paragraph shows this, as well.
In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus tells some who did great works in His Name to depart from Him, because he never knew them. What? They had done good works! Why did He tell them to depart from Him? The answer is in 1Cor 8:3. It says that if any man love God, then he is known of God. Jesus didn’t know these “workers of iniquity“, because they didn’t LOVE Him. Again, you can do all kinds of good works; but if it’s not motivated by a love for Jesus Christ, it profits nothing. That’s why Paul said if any man love not the Lord Jesus, let him be accursed (1Cor 16:22).
While Jesus commended the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2 for there faithfulness to God’s Word and doctrine, as well as not tolerating false teachers; He also said if they did not repent and remember their first love (Himself) that He would remove their church. This is an amazing statement. A church with solid doctrine, but no love, is a church Jesus doesn’t even want in existence. Selah.
God’s love abides in us when we receive Jesus Christ as our savior through faith (Eph 3:17-19). Paul’s prayer for them is that they might comprehend and know the fullness and four dimensional aspects of God’s love that now dwelt inside of them through faith. That is my prayer for you, as well. The same love that God has for Jesus abides in us when Jesus abides in us (Jn 17:26). Imagine! God loves us as He loves Jesus! So, when Christ is in you, then God’s love is in you, and it is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5).
Then, God teaches us to love each other (1Thess 4:9). Our ability to love others is received by first accepting Christ, and then cultivating a relationship with Him through prayer, praise, and reading His Word. “Contemplate the love of Christ, and you will love” - Henry Drummond. This is the royal law (Jam 2:8). Royal means preeminent, chief, regal. Top of the list. More important than anything else. Where did James get this? From Jesus Himself (Mk 12:30-31).
Love is a verb. Choose love. Don’t wait to feel, and then act. Rather act, and then feel. Continually choose love, and love feelings will come. Contemplate love, and you will love.
“It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of envy.” - Helen Keller. Stop fighting - start loving. Stop trying to shovel out darkness, and simply turn on the light. Don’t go to your spouse; children; church; friends - and passively sit back, waiting to “feel the love” from them. Rather, go to these people and places ready to love, ready to give, and act on it - then the feelings of love will manifest. It starts with you. It starts with me. Selah.