The other day I was watching a sermon and the pastor, Judah Smith, said something very profound. He said, “You know God to the level that you love like God.” Immediately, I felt convicted, and I had to ask myself, “How well do I know Him? And can others tell?”
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:7-8 (NIV)
The number of times the word “love” appears in the Bible depends on the version, but in the King James Version the word “love” appears over 300 times. Love is the foundation of the Christian faith. Pastors are always preaching about it, there are a ton of scriptures about it, and yet it can still be hard to grasp what exactly love is. However, one thing that love is not, is a feeling. It is an action – a choice.
1 Corinthians 13 is a whole chapter about love. The chapter basically defines what love is and says nothing about it being a feeling, which is good because feelings are fleeting. They fade. Feelings come and go. But love, love remains. It is permanent and real. Love is constant. “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13: 7&8).
When it comes to Jesus and his love, it really cannot be compared to. Still, as Christians, it is our goal to be like Him. This means, love like He does. Love those who love you, and love those who don’t. You may be thinking, “Oh! No. I can’t love ___ because he/she ____.” But don’t you know that anything and everything that you have experienced, Jesus has too?! Jesus loved those who lied on him, doubted him, manipulated him, betrayed him, and stole from him. He loved people in-spite of the hurt and pain they caused him. In fact, his 12 disciples hurt him the most, and they were the closest people to him. But how gracious is it of Jesus to love them anyway?!
So, I say all of this to challenge you to chose love. The two greatest commandments are to: 1) Love God and 2) Love your neighbor (Mark 12:30&31). Matthew 5:44 even takes it a step further by telling us to love our enemies. Just like people say to walk in forgiveness, we should also live in love. Love covers a multitude of sin….including wrong-doings. When we love others, we are being like Christ, and we are being the type of Christians whose actions speak for themselves and reflect our relationship with our God.
“Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.” – Proverbs 10: 12 (NIV)