LOVE IS THE GREATEST
We are in the season where love and matters of the heart abound almost everywhere. Expressions of love and appreciation, however, should be a daily activity of our lives.
The Bible is replete with examples and commands concerning love and the heart. Most of these are not about the physical or emotional connection between two people, but more about the love that is a reflection of God. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). It is far more than a mere emotion.
“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). “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
Jesus proclaimed the greatest commandments are: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…. You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 222:37, 39). He gave a “new commandment” to His disciples in John 13:34-35, “…love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” He also decreed, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15; cf. 14:18-24).
This type of love, as the old pop song proclaimed, is more than a feeling. It is not something that comes and goes with the external circumstances of our daily life. It is a conscious choice of the mind that is manifested by the fruit (action) it bears. It is shown in service and devotion to others.
Our love for God is directly tied to our love for others: our neighbors, enemies, and brethren. It seems easy to declare that we love God, but are we so disciplined to declare our love for others through our actions toward them? James chapter 2 is a strong admonishment for Christians regarding how they see and act toward others and it is enmeshed in a clear doctrinal address about faith and works. Are we showing our faith by our works? And specifically, are we showing our love for God by caring for and loving all others?
Take time during this “season of love” to assess your love and those to whom you show love. Use words to express your heart but go beyond words and express your love through your actions. God loves you and has shown that to us unambiguously. Don’t limit yourself to just this time in February, make it an ongoing part of your life. “Let love be genuine” (Rom. 12:9).
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8). “Love never ends…. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:8, 13).