For several weeks, if not months, I have carried this thought about the “Love of God” and His desire that we show that same love to one another. Almost every day, if not every day, it is part of my prayers and at least once a week it is something that I consider writing about, but God puts other things in front of me through His Word or a devotional that sets me on another path. Today that path was not changed but encouraged.
As is so often the case, woke with these thoughts working in my brain. The first thing I read this morning was an email that I get every day that spoke of the love of God and then a devotional. After that, I read several things that meshed with my thoughts that the Holy Spirit had been sharing with me for so long. The one passage that started this thought so long ago was in the Gospel of John.
The passage that touched my heart was John 13: 34-35. It was the new commandment that Jesus gave his disciples before he foretells Peter’s denial that will happen during Jesus’ mock trial and torture.
John 13:34-35 (ESV)
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
This passage is one that sticks with me always. Jesus directed us to love one another, and this love takes effort sometimes. Sometimes it is a small thing like saying hello in the morning. Sometimes it is more. But when I think about this passage I never consider love being done begrudgingly; that is a contradiction if there ever was one. But you know sometimes we miss out on a blessing by sharing a bad start to the day instead of the love of Jesus, and too often it is with the ones closest to us.
As I think about this passage I end up in Ephesians first; specifically, chapter 2 and 4. Chapter two Paul shares the love of God, and when I consider this passage how can I not share that with my brothers and sisters in Christ first and then the world around me.
Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV)
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
God loved us so much that he gave His Son to take on the sin of the world and conquer death for us all if we will believe, repent and be baptized. And he gave us His Word that we might learn what it means to walk in accordance with His will. I love what Paul says at the beginning of Ephesians 4.
Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Doesn’t that support the new commandment Jesus gave in John 13? Aren’t those things part of what love is. I looked for a definition of love and found it in 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 13
The passage that defines it is verses 4-7
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
If we follow this definition of love won’t we be more effective in meeting the things that Paul encourages in Ephesians 4? But this thing love does not stop there for me I found a passage in 1 John that impacted me, and I was reminded of one of my favorites in 2 Peter.
1 John 4:7- 5:5
The passage in 1 John looks longer than it is. The Heading in my ESV Bible translation is “God Is Love.” I will not write out the whole thing here but provide a link here and encourage you to give it a look at Bible Gateway. I am only going to pull out three passages. First, beginning in verse 7.
1 John 4:7-10 (ESV)
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
I love this passage. John reminds us that love is something that comes from God. If we do not love, we do not know God. The part that makes me shudder a bit is that if love comes from God, we do not define how it is applied, God does, and that takes me back to 1 Corinthians, and John 13 and I need to think about how I am applying this love.
John won’t let it go either. He reminds me again in verse 19.
1 John 4:19 (ESV)
19 We love because he first loved us.
God gave love to us and then showed us how it was done to the point that we love because He loved us first. I could not stop at the chapter break either. I had to continue to the beginning of chapter 5.
1 John 5:1-2 (ESV)
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.
This love that God has given us is like the fuel that drives our faith. Just go back to Ephesians 2 and that love that God had for us was the reason he saved us even in our sin. I think I could go on forever on this, but I will close with one more passage.
Closing Thoughts – 1 Corinthians 13
1 Corinthians 13:4 has a definition of love. In verses 1-3 it demonstrates the importance of love to our faith.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (ESV)
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
I am a simple-minded guy. Much of what I grew up with had a motor of some kind, and I wanted to make it go faster, so I put good stuff in it, but if I did not have Hi Octane fuel, it would not run right. Sometimes you even need “racing gas.”
My faith is like that Hot Rod motor. It gets more and more powerful as I put go fast stuff in it from God’s Word through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but I need High Octane Love to fuel that faith. Because without it, “I gain nothing.”
I do not want to hide it either. I want to let that love out and share it like a Hot Rod with a strong motor. It is not real loud exhaust, but you can tell that motor is strong by the rumble. That kind of rumble that puts a smile on your face. It is hard to hold back if you have it.
Father God, thank you for the love that you have shown me and taught me to use. Father let me never waste it or hide it but let me share it openly with the world around me. My relationship with you is always personal, but not private; help me share it every day! In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.