A popular scripture and one I had to memorize as a child is, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). I remember repeating it over and over until I could say it without much thought. As an adult I’d see these words quoted on miscellaneous social media boards or placed amidst artful postings, but it wasn’t until years later that I really gave those words some careful thought. God so loved the world. Love is a word we humans throw around quite casually, but I learned that for God it so much more!
When we use this agape love, we do things differently. We decidedly choose to express Christ-like attributes. It means we try to see people as God does--His potential children.
When we express godly love, we are showing people what God is like. As Christians we are showing others who He is through our actions. The first way we show others how to love is by how we treat each other. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
God loved us so much, that He not only allowed His son to suffer cruel and terrible torture, but also died for us! That’s no small matter. Jesus Christ was human; He felt every single blow. Because of that sacrifice, we are able to receive the Holy Spirit, which is given as a gift (Acts 2:38). It allows us to have God’s law written on our hearts and in our minds. That helps us to grow and bear spiritual fruits (Hebrews 10:16). Why is that important?
Galatians lists the fruits of the Spirit and the flesh. It says that “the flesh lusts against the Spirit” (Galatians 5:17). That means that when I am not living the way God’s Holy Spirit leads me, I am pushing Him out of my life. He put the Spirit within me, and Scripture says I will not be a part of the Kingdom of God if I don’t live by it (Galatians 5:21). Love is one of the fruits of the Spirit. The word love is the Greek word agape. This love is expressed as the very highest form of love, a Christ-like love. It comes directly from God, and if we are using it correctly, we will demonstrate God’s love from within, as part of our very being.
When we use this agape love, we do things differently. We decidedly choose to express Christ-like attributes. It means we try to see people as God does--His potential children. That means we are kinder, we serve others more, and we become more encouraging. God’s plan is that all men will one day experience His love fully. “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18).
God’s law is love
Love is not just something God does, it is who He is! God’s goal is for us to be transformed, so that our character is also defined by love.
God and the Word—the one who became Christ—knew before creation that to transform human beings spiritually and bring them into the Kingdom of God, Christ’s life would have to be sacrificed for humanity’s sins (Revelation 13:8).
Many churches teach that the commandments are done away with because of Christ’s reply to a man who asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:36-40).
Did you know that Jesus was quoting an Old Testament scripture here? Look at Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5 and you see Christ was not creating new commandments, but reiterating what was already established. Why He called it a new commandment was that we now had His example to follow (John 13:34). The commandments are love (2 John 1:6).
Love is an action. It’s not just the way we think or how we feel. It’s respectful, it’s compassionate. Love naturally brings about harmony and peace.
God is loving and forgiving. He is patient and wants what is best for us as any loving caring father would. He is not reluctant or cold to our needs, but He guides us through His Word. We should enthusiastically show the same loving devotion to Him (1 John 4:19). As I try to become a godlier woman in my own life, I think about how God and others view me. Am I showing them a good example of what God’s love should look like?