1 Timothy 1:5, “The purpose of this command is for people to have love, a love that comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a true faith.”
Love is expressed in so many ways and we try to define it, put it into action, and yet still fail to fully understand it. This is because we base love so much on our emotions or through our own experiences in relationships with others. Then we begin to define the character of God by how we live life experiences on earth. We forget that God should not be brought down to our earthly level, our character needs to be brought up to His level.
To begin to understand God's love we need to look at the Greek word ‘agape’ which denotes a love above what we experience in our earthly relationships. God's love is free, unconditional, and giving. God loves expecting nothing in return. All He wants is a relationship with us.
With all our human definitions of love we really need to understand God's love because it plays a huge part in our acceptance of, and relationships with other people. When we have Jesus living in us, we tend to want to treat others as He treats us. Understanding God's love helps us share that love to others.
Let's look at some points the Bible teaches us, about God's love. Let God speak to you and let the words enter your heart filling you with God's ‘agape’ love.
- God's love acts- Romans 5:8, “But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners.”
God's love is not just some lovey-dovey empty promise. God's love acts; we were sinners and He gave up His Son as a sacrifice for an entire world to take on our sins. God's love acts and continues to act as He leads, protects, and provides for us.
- God's love is personal- Galatians 2:20, “I was put to death on the cross with Christ, and I do not live anymore—it is Christ who lives in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself to save me.”
Put your name in this verse. God loved your name, and He gave Himself for your name! God so love the world- how awesome is this promise. Paul learned this very personal love of God and we should feel the same joy. It has been said that even if there was only one sinner on this earth, Jesus would still have gone to the cross. God's love is for each one of us.
- God's love is eternal- Romans 8:38-39, “Yes, I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor ruling spirits, nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, 39, nothing above us, nothing below us, nor anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Paul ends Romans with a beautiful conclusion. He had written about God's love and how it brings salvation and what Jesus’ death meant. He, in sharing that those who have a true relationship with God says that nothing can separate us from God's love, not even death. God's love can never be taken from us. John 13:1, “It was almost time for the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that it was time for him to leave this world and go back to the Father. He had always loved those who were his own in the world, and he loved them all the way to the end.”
- God's love is to be known and experienced- Ephesians 3:17-19, “I pray that Christ will live in your hearts by faith and that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love—how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is. Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fullness of God.”
Paul experienced a lot of God's love and eagerly wanted to share it with others so they could also experience it. Paul wanted everyone to know this love, grasp it, and be rooted and established in it. When we truly know and understand God's love we will be ‘filled to the measure of all the fullness of God’. Just as the roots of the tree sink deep down in the ground for nourishment, life, and stability, we can have the same when we are rooted firmly in God's love.
- God's love compels us- 2 Corinthians 5:14, “The love of Christ controls us, because we know that One died for all, so all have died.”
When we know God's love, we are motivated in a way that compels us to live for God who shows us such love. It is God's love for us that casts out all fears. God's love is greater than the fear of this world and knowing how deep His love for us is helps us strive to walk on the ‘straight and narrow’.
- The Father loves you as much as He loves Jesus- John 17:23, “I will be in them and you will be in me so that they will be completely one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you loved them just as much as you loved me.”
In a world where love means ‘strings attached’, it's easy to disbelieve that God's love for us is the same love He has for Jesus. God loves Jesus absolutely, even more than we love our own children, and Jesus was always about doing His Father's will. But love us the same? We are sinners, we fail God all the time, we don't always do His will. We are the black sheep in the family. Yet, the truth is in God's Word. This is what ‘agape’ love is. Unconditional, free, and giving, and this is the love God gives to us all.
The simple conclusion- Jude 21, “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the Lord Jesus Christ with his mercy to give you life forever.” Keep yourself in it. God's love won't change, but we do. We allow other priorities, worldly desires, and more take us away from God. Let's follow Jesus’ example and abide in God's love. Put God first, love one another as God loves, love unconditionally and selflessly. When we understand God's love we can allow it to overflow to others and still have some left over. Begin today with an agape love, as God does for you.
We will start a new book of the Bible soon but for now I hope you take time to still dig through the pages and allow the Lord to inspire you with new ideas. Maybe for this weekend you could google or look in the concordance the word love and study the different ways it is shown in the Bible. Be still and listen to God's voice and let Him lead you in where He wants you to study.
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