|Posted by Mimi on July 7, 2011 at 3:52 PM|
Love is a term so easily used these days, but sadly, it is most often mis-used and abused. When we look in the Word of God for the definition of love, we find characteristics often forgotten in today’s society, where careless love is common, and true spiritual love is lost.
1 Corinthians 13:1 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. 2 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. 3 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.
4 Love is patient
Love is kind.
It does not envy
It does not boast
It is not proud
5 It does not dishonor others
It is not self-seeking
It is not easily angered
It keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects
8 Love never fails.
These are the characteristics of true love, agape love… God’s love. This is the way God loves us, and it is why He sent Jesus to die for our sins, and to save us from death. This is the kind of love Jesus calls us to give to EVERYONE in our lives. Yes, everyone includes your noisy neighbors, the curt bank teller, the person that just cut you off on the freeway without signaling, and even the bum at the onramp!
John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Jesus is very clear in his command that we love one another, as He loves us. When Jesus died on the cross, the new covenant of grace was ushered in ~ we who have accepted Christ as our LORD and Savior are no longer bound to the law of the land! We have been given a new law, and that is to GIVE LOVE! Unconditionally. Now, this is quite impossible on our own, but when we ask for God’s help – for an increase in love – we are sure to receive it. As a bonus, "our joy [will] be complete" when we are living and loving as Christ intended, Jesus will take joy in US, we will be called Jesus friend, and our prayers will be answered (vs. 11, 14, 16)! HALLELUJAH!
God is happy to give that which He wants to give, and He wants us all to have as much love for one another as He has for each and every person, ever. This leaves NO room for: impatience, unkindness, envy, pride, dishonor, selfishness, doubt, short-temper, grudges, evil, harm, and even quitting. Think of these things the next time you tell someone you love them, for if you state that you have love and you are harboring these feelings, you do not have true love.
Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Sometimes, it is just plain hard to give love, because we have not / are not truly being loved. Or perhaps we have had a distorted perception of love, and of what our earthly assignment is. No matter where we are at in our “love levels”, God is ever-ready to give us more. Seek Him in prayer, in the Word, and in praise, and thank Him for supernaturally increasing your ability to love as Jesus did, and for God’s honor. God has asked us to do this, and is sure to grant your request!
You may not see immediate results, but have faith that changes will come as God softens your heart and molds it into the likeness of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Practice loving your family and friends in patience and kindness, practice humility, forgiveness, and perseverance. Jesus is right here with you, ready to help you at every moment. We have to learn to give love, before we can receive it. Just as Jesus first loved us by His life on earth in the flesh, now we are called to give love because He loved us. So pour out some love today, and be amazed as God supernaturally increases your ability to give true love, In Him!
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH IN CHRIST! ~ Mimi