The subject of “love” has dominated the attention of mankind throughout the years. There have been literally thousands of songs, poems, stories, fables, even scientific studies, trying to help define love and explain it more fully. The entertainment industry uses love as a central theme in most of it’s programming.
Do you remember a TV show called “Love, American Style”? It was a show featuring a different cast of characters every week. They would show the affects of love on many, varied, fictional relationships. For a quick walk down memory lane watch this…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrBe09SIENA&feature=related
After all these attempts, it seems as if there still exists much confusion about love and man’s pursuit of it. For us to look to our society for a definition of love is a futile act. Today’s definitions can range from an innocent emotion to an immoral act and everything in between. The more man tries to define it, the more confused man becomes.
So what is love? We will try to answer this question from God’s Word….
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The Bible has ALOT to say about love… within the pages of the Bible we find at least 311 times when the word “love” is used (300 times in the Old Testament, 11 times in the New Testament). Love is a central theme of the Bible…. Both God’s love for man and man’s love for God are emphasized. But throughout the Word, there is also many references to mankind’s love for one another. Anyone who is willing to take the time to examine every reference to love in the Bible will see a vast storehouse of information that helps us to see the true meaning and role of love in our lives.
At the risk of over-simplifying the Biblical teaching, let me center on just one of many observations about love found in the Bible…. a scriptural, God-pleasing love is one that produces self-sacrifice in our lives. For one example of this principle please see John 15:3; here we find love for a friend resulting in laying down our life for them.
Our God set the ultimate example of a sacrificial love for us…
God the Father loved us so much He gave His Son to die for us on the cross. (John 3:16, Roms 5:8)
God the Son loved us so much He gave His life as an offering and sacrifice to God for us, paying the price of our sins. (Eph 5:2)
Christ, in the person of God the Spirit, then indwells our hearts through faith… giving us a continual testimony of His great love for us. (Eph 3:17-19)
Finally, we can never be separated from this great love He has bestowed upon us! What a wonderful promise, once we are placed in His love, no one can take His love off of us… in other words, His love is without limit, He will never cast us aside nor will he ever desert us, we are kept by Him eternally. (Roms 8:35-39)
Now, after setting such great examples of true love for us, He then promises to implant within us this same love when we are forgiven of our sins. In our scripture verse, love is classified as one of the “fruits of the Spirit”… this means that love is given off in our lives, when the Holy Spirit inhabits our hearts, at the time our salvation. Therefore, we can begin to love Him, and others, with the same type of love that He has loved us… an unrestricted, self-surrendering love.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
What a wonderful gift we have been given…. a fruit of love that we can give off to others…. much like a tree gives off its fruit to those who need it. We can love others sacrificially, with no thought of personal gain. Have you ever heard of an “unconditional” love? This is the same type of love we can give to others through the working of the Spirit in our lives.
As followers of our Lord, we can place this love upon Him, allowing us to serve Him without hesitation or reservation. We can willingly give our all to Him, just as He gave His all for us. (1 John 4:19)
Then, we are able to love others as Christ loved us. What a wonderful way to be a living testimony for Him. By loving others sacrificially, with no thought of personal gain, we are displaying for all to see how our Lord has loved us and laid down His life for us on the cross. (John 15:12)
For those who have never received the love of God into their hearts…. look to the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Trusting in Christ for his salvation, is all men’s responsibility. Have you trusted in Christ? Have your sins been forgiven? Has the love of God been placed upon you? Does His Spirit now enable you to love as He loves? If you have answered “no” to these questions please read God’s word, it shows us the way of life and true, Godly love. A great place to start reading is 1 John 3:23-24.
May the Lord bless your study of His Word.
Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”
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