Unit 4: Five vital truths about love
FIVE VITAL TRUTHS ABOUT LOVE:
- GOD LOVES YOU UNCONDITIONALLY
God loves with agape, the love described in 1 Corinthians 13. He loves you so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for you, that you might have everlasting life. His love is not based on performance. Christ loves you so much that while you were yet a sinner, He died for you. God’s love for you is unconditional and undeserved. He loves you in spite of your disobedience, your weakness, your sin and your selfishness. He loves you enough to provide a way to abundant, eternal life. From the cross Christ cried out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” If God loved those who are sinners that much, can you imagine how much He loves you – His child through faith in Christ and who seeks to please Him?
- YOU ARE COMMANDED TO LOVE
A certain lawyer asked Jesus, “Sir, which is the most important command in the laws of Moses?” Jesus replied, ““Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’ All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.”
The one who has not yet learned to love God and to seek Him above all else and all others is to be pitied, for that person is missing the blessings that await all who love God with all their heart, soul and mind. It is natural for you to fulfill the command to love your neighbors as yourself if you truly love God with all your heart, soul and mind. If you are properly related to God on the vertical plane, you will be properly related to others on the horizontal plane.
- YOU CANNOT LOVE IN YOUR OWN STRENGTH
Just as surely as “those who are in the flesh (the worldly, carnal person) cannot please God,” so in your own strength you cannot love as you ought.
You cannot demonstrate agape, God’s unconditional love for others, through your own efforts. How many times have you resolved to love someone? How often have you tried to manufacture some kind of positive, loving emotion toward another person for whom you felt nothing? It is impossible, isn’t it? In your own strength it is not possible to love with God’s kind of love.
By nature, people are not patient and kind. We are jealous, envious and boastful. We are proud, haughty, selfish and rude, and we demand our own way. We could never love others the way God loves us!
- YOU CAN LOVE WITH GOD’S LOVE
It was God’s kind of love that brought you to Christ. It is this kind of love that is able to sustain and encourage you each day. Through His love in you, you can bring others to Christ and minister to fellow believers as God has commanded. God’s love was supremely expressed in the life of Jesus Christ. You have a perfect, complete picture of God’s kind of love in the birth, character, teachings, life, death and resurrection of His Son.
How does this love enter your life? It becomes yours the moment you receive Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit comes to indwell your life. The Scripture says, “We feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” God is Spirit and the “fruit of the Spirit is love…” When you are controlled by the Spirit, you can love with God’s love. When Christ comes into your life and you become a Christian, God gives you the resources to be a different kind of person. With the motivation, He also gives you the ability. He provides you with a new kind of love.
But how do you make love a practical reality in your life? How do you love? By resolutions? By self-imposed discipline? No. The only way to love is explained in my final point.
- YOU LOVE BY FAITH
Everything about the Christian life is based on faith. You love by faith just as you received Christ by faith, just as you are filled with the Holy Spirit by faith, and just as you walk by faith.
If the fruit of the Spirit is love, you may logically ask, “Is it not enough to be filled with the Spirit?” This will be true from God’s point of view, but it will not always be true in your actual experience. Many Christians have loved with God’s love and have demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit in their lives without consciously or specifically claiming His love by faith. Yet, without being aware of the fact, they indeed loved by faith; therefore, they did not find it necessary to claim God’s love by faith as a specific act. Hebrews 11:6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Obviously there will be no demonstration of God’s love where there is no faith.
If you have difficulty in loving others, remember that Jesus has commanded, “Love each other as much as I love you.” It is God’s will for you to love. He would not command you to do something that He will not enable you to do. In 1 John 5:14,15, God promises that if you ask anything according to His will, He hears and answers you. Relating this promise to God’s command, you can claim by faith the privilege of loving with His love.
God has an unending supply of His divine, supernatural, agape love for you. It is for you to claim, to grow on, to spread to others, and thus to reach hundreds and thousands with the love that counts, the love that will bring them to Jesus Christ.
In order to experience and share this love, you must claim it by faith; that is, trust His promise that He will give you all that you need to do His will on the basis of His command and promise.