With half of all marriages ending in divorce, it seems today’s society views love as a temporary, even fickle emotion. But what is true Biblical love? How does God want us to love each other? To find out we need to go to the source of love…God. Looking at God’s love for us can help us understand the meaning of true love.
The first thing to consider is that God is love (1 John 4:16), so everything He does for us and to us and with us is a loving act. He is always loving. A corollary to this fact is that God’s love is everlasting since God is everlasting (Jer 31:3). This means that regardless of how we may feel, God’s love for us does not come and go; it’s always there.
God’s love for us is not dependent upon us at all. He does not love us because of who we are or what we do, but He loves us simply because He chooses to love us (Romans 5:8; Deut 7:7). We do not need to earn His love by doing good works.
Finally, God’s love is sacrificial. It considers someone else’s needs above God’s own. It is completely selfless. The sacrificial nature of God’s love is manifested in Jesus Christ. God loved us so much that He would have His son suffer a humiliating, painful death on earth, and be the sacrifice for the sins of mankind (John 3:16). Jesus’ love for his Father was so great that he willingly sacrificed himself.
Using God’s love as a model, we are called to love one another. A beautiful passage on what Godly love looks like in the world is found in 1 Corinthians 13. Here is an excerpt:
“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, 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, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
The Lord commands us to love one another (Matt 5:44; Matt 22:39; 1 John 4:21). The Bible teaches us that if we love one another, then God lives in us and His love will be complete in us. With God’s love in us, we will grow to be more like Him, fearing nothing and looking forward to the day when we will be with Him in heaven.
- Look for and embrace opportunities to sacrifice for others. Try making this a theme of your life over the next 2 weeks and record some of the results. Share these results with your small group, if applicable.
- If you know of someone in need, call that person to encourage him or her.
- If there is a relationship in your life that is strained or has caused you pain, pray for reconciliation. Be mindful of the Lord’s promptings, and if you are moved by the Holy Spirit, call that person.
The book of Hosea
What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey
The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, by D. A. Carson