Love Defined; the term love is one of the most misused and misinterpreted terms in the English language. Many people believe it is a frothy. Sensual, high – spirited type of sentiment that is too prevalent in the world today. However, we need to conclude that such carnal passion is simply lust.
What is genuine love? Love is an attribute of God. As such, it can only be defined in a way that is consistent with His nature. We need to look at the Scriptures to get a sound concept of love. True love is Godlike. “God is love” (1 John 4: 16). “Love is of God” (1 John 4: 7).
1 Corinthians 13 is an excellent commentary on love. The following characteristics of love are given. Love is longsuffering, is content, is humble, acts decently, is not selfish, is not quick – tempered, thinks no evil, is pure, is truthful, knows no loads or burdens, places confidence in others, is hopeful, is durable, is never failing, and is eternal. Truly, love is one of the choicest beauties of life.
The Bible also describes love as follows: “Love is strong as death” Song of Solomon 8: 6. “Many waters cannot quench love” Song of Solomon 8: 7. Love is without pretense Romans 12: 9. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour” Romans 13: 10. Love is unprejudiced. Love is no respecter of persons. Love shows no partiality. “There is no fear in love” 1 John 4: 18. If you fear someone, just love them more, for “perfect love casteth out fear”. Love is helpful 1 John 3: 17. Love must be observable. Love is as love does 1 John 3: 18.
Love is a sign of new life in Christ: “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren” 1 John 3: 14. Love is an evidence of God’s Spirit reigning within: “But the fruit of the spirit is love” Galatians 5: 22. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” Romans 5: 5.
Love is a proof of discipleship, Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” John 13: 35. God’s people have always been known by their fervent love. It just cannot be hid. Love is expressed in obedience: “And this is love, that we talk after his commandments” 11 John 6. Sometimes love carries a stick, so
to speak. This is necessary on the part of a parent or leader when discipline needs to be administered. Proper redemptive discipline is not a demonstration of ill – feelings, but rather an expression of love for the soul. It is the same attitude that God expresses in Revelation 3: 19: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” The leader who can keep sincere love shinning through when administering discipline, is one that ruleth by love.
Love Commanded: The Bible is full of God’s commands to His people to adorn the
ornament of love. Jesus said, “ A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” John13: 34; “Love thy neighbour as thyself” Mark 12: 31; and “Love your enemies” Luke 6: 27. God also gave
commands through the apostles to love: “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love” Romans 12: 10. “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another” Romans 13: 8. We owe a debt of love to our fellowmen. “By love serve one another” Galatians 5: 13. “Rooted and grounded in love” Ephesians 3: 17. “Forbearing one another in love” Ephesians 4: 2. “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us” Ephesians 5: 2. “Be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” Philippians 2: 2. Our hearts are to be “knit together in love” Colossians 2: 2. “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness” Colossians 3: 14. “Increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men” 1Thessalonians 3: 12.
“Honor all men. Love the brotherhood” 1 Peter 2: 17. “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another; love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous” 1 Peter 3: 8. “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover (prevent) the multitude of sins” 1Peter 4: 8. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” 1 John 4: 11. “And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also” 1 John 4: 21. Nonresistance is positively expressed by love. It is the foundational virtue upon which nonresistance living rests. The following poem shows how it works. He drew a circle that shut me out – Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in. By Edwin Markham.
Do you love to love people? Oh for more love! We need it; our homes need it; our churches need it; our nation needs it. Yes, the whole world is crying for someone to share more of this divine quality. Will that person be you?