“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” Matthew 5:46
We all hold tightly to our own definitions of love. And we choose to include people in our lives that fit that definition, that make us feel—at least temporarily—how we think we should feel.
But when love doesn’t feel like we want it to, we like some distance. We’ll even cut people loose to find someone else we think will meet our need. Friendships divide. Marriages splinter. In this fallen world we live in, love ends.
Yet God has His own definition of love.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
God loves, so He gives.
God’s love gives, beloved. Always. It isn’t guarded or reserved for those He finds worthy of it. He gives it freely to all, even to those who reject Him. Romans 5:8 proves that true.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Christ chose a cross of shame for a world that didn’t care to know Him. Love compelled Him to carry the sin of those who rejected Him. Who beat and spit on Him. Who hurled insults and mocked Him.
He loved a world that didn’t love Him back. Freely. Abundantly. Sacrificially. He gave Himself in love.
Why would He do it? Because He knows the power love wields when someone chooses to receive it. Love heals. It redeems. It transforms.
Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:8
Love holds the key to unleashing the power of God in our midst.
Because God is love.
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8
Love defines God’s nature. When we love, we become one with God. In that moment, we say “no” to the false wisdom of this world and step into agreement with our Creator. When we love, we bear God’s image, releasing His life.
No wonder scripture cites love as our most important attribute.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
But love isn’t love unless it’s given. Biblical love isn’t a feeling. It’s action. And Jesus commands us to love even our enemies.
Why our enemies? Perhaps the moment we most want to run away from a difficult person provides an opportunity. What if we followed Jesus’ example and gave love even while someone rejects us? What if love became the catalyst to create change in their life that would make them a little less difficult?
1 Corinthians 13:13 lists faith, hope and love as powerful attributes that remain when other things fade. How do they connect?
Experiencing love enables someone to hope for change. Hope ignites belief. And belief alone ushers us into grace, where the very arm of God moves on our behalf.
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5
Love doesn’t have to be extravagant to have power. Even a word of encouragement can change things. Love just has to be given to do its work.
Jesus went to the cross to pour love into our hearts so that we could pour it out on the people around us. He gave us His nature and asks us to reveal it.
Let’s love, dear one.
Love inspires hope. Hope ignites faith. Faith unleashes the power of God to change things.