According to Tina Turner’s song, it was just a second-hand emotion. But for us, as Christians, spiritually speaking, love has everything to do with it. Why? All that God is, all that God does, all that God expects us to be and do, has to do with love. The Bible tells us that God is love. God’s very nature is love. Love is the most important fruit we should bear in our lives. There is an entire chapter that talks about this quality (1 Cor 13). It tells us that out of faith, hope, and love, love is the greatest. Love never fails. It even tells us that no matter what gifts we possess or what great and noble things we do, we are nothing if we don’t have love. Basically, we are nothing without love.
God loves us. I learned this at an early age. In Sunday School class, we had to memorize John 3:16. God demonstrated His love for us. He put actions behind His words; He sent His Son to die for our sins so that we might have eternal life. I love the way 1 John 3:1 (NIV) talks about God’s great love for us and how He lavishes His love on us. He lays it on thick! We are His children and He is our heavenly Father. Although I knew God loves us, it wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized why He loves us so much. I found the answer to why He loves us so much in Genesis. He created us in His own image and blessed us. But, there’s more. He breathed the breath of life in us, His breath! He did not do that to any other creature. All of us were created in His image, not just a particular race or nationality, but the entire human race, all of mankind. Jesus loves us. He demonstrated His love for us by being obedient to His Father and laying down His life for us.
We should love God and Jesus and demonstrate our love for them by being obedient. When asked which is the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus replied that the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength. In essence, we are to love Him with all of our being, with all of who we are. When we obey His commands, we demonstrate our love for Him. Jesus tells us that whoever has His commands and keeps them, is the one who loves Him.
We should love others and demonstrate our love for them through our actions. Let’s go back to the question asked of Jesus concerning which was the greatest commandment in the Law. After Jesus responded with the first and greatest commandment, He told him the second greatest commandment. It is to love our neighbor as ourselves. He went on to say that all the Law and the Prophets hang on these (or is summed up by these) two commandments. We are commanded to love one another. It is not an option for a child of God. Jesus tells us that as He has loved us, we also must love one another. This is how others will know that we are His disciples, by our love for one another. The trademark of being a Christian is love. We are even told that it is impossible for us to love God when we hate a brother or sister. We are called a murderer if we hate a brother or sister. And, we are not God’s children if we do not love one another. If we don’t love one another, we don’t even know God, because God is love. We are told that if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. We are also told to love our enemies. This removes any doubt about whom we must love. We must love everyone – sister, brother, neighbor, one another, and enemy.
All of this love – God’s love for us, our love to Him, and our love for others is depicted in the Perfect Love Relationship, which I came up with many years ago. It is also summed up in John 15:9-17. So, as you can see, love has everything to do with it, if you are a Christian.
I’ve learned that we love not with words but with actions. It is true what they say, “talk is cheap.” We must demonstrate our love through our actions. I’ve learned that we don’t even know God and we are not His children if we do not love all mankind. Many of us call ourselves Christians, but by whose standard? God has set some very high standards for His children; He has commanded us to love one another. By your actions, can you truly say that you love others? Would you want to be treated the way you treat others? Who are we trying to fool? Can we really say we are children of God if we do not have a love for our brother, regardless of their race, nationality, or any other difference? If we don’t love others, then we don’t know God and we are not His children because God is love. And the trademark of a Christian is love.
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