God’s Love & Us
Love is the foundation for everything God has created. Love looks for objects and persons upon which to express affection; thus, God made us to love us. We were created to be recipients of God's everlasting love. God's love is so immense that though man sinned, love motivated Him to send his Son to redeem us. This love surpasses the understanding of man. "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers … what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" (Psalm 8:3-4) This love is not based on conditions or promises; it is unrestricted and boundless. It is freely given, even when it’s not deserved. (Romans 5:8)
God is love. (1 John 4:8) God is the embodiment of love; love is His nature. We cannot fully grasp the concept of God's love; it can only be understood through revelation.
God's love is unconditional; nothing can cause Him to love more or less than He does. This is not reason to take the love for granted, but rather cause to behave in accordance to His desires. God's love is irrevocable; His love is everlasting and cannot be revoked. God's love is autonomous; His love is completely independent of us. It doesn't depend on us, rather we are dependent on His love. God's love is boundless; it knows no limitations (Romans 8:38-39). His love is faithful, unfailing, sacrificial; God's love is priceless.
Love requires a response and God expects us to respond to His love by loving Him and loving each other. God does not demand requited love; however, we are encouraged to respond to His love by loving Him. (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37-40; Luke 10:27) Our response to God's love involves the totality of the inner man; all that is within must be devoted to the Lord.
Love exceeds emotions, it must manifest in action. Knowing and having a relationship with God makes it easy to love Him. Love for God can be exhibited by freely giving our time, effort and resources.
To love God is to worship and praise Him. (Luke 4:8) To love God is to put Him first. As the commandment says, love God “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). To love God is to desire Him, to yearn for His righteousness, His Word, and His grace. (Psalm 42:1) Long for His presence, desire to spend time with Him. Finally, to love God is to obey Him. (John 14:15).
In Matthew 22:39-40, scripture instructs us to love our neighbors. The parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates a broad definition of our neighbor. (Luke 10:30) Love your neighbor is a commandment; it must be adhered to with purpose and intention. You cannot love God and not love your neighbor. Loving God enables us to love our neighbors, whether they are in the body of Christ or not. A loving relationship with God allows us to have loving relationships with others. When we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we find it easy to love our neighbor as ourselves. (John 15:12; 1 John 4:12; 1 John 4:21)
Though it's not always easy to love our neighbor, we must seek to imitate the love God freely gives to us. By imitating God, others will know that we truly are children of God. (1 John 3:10; John 13:34-35).
Scripture states in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, possessing spiritual gifts void of love is of no gain. Love requires action; to love your neighbor means to pray for them, even when it's difficult. Loving your neighbor means to extend grace; as you have freely received grace, freely give it. Demonstrate love to your neighbor through acts of kindness or being sympathetic to their plights. Loving your neighbor means extending forgiveness; for love always forgives. See others through God's perspective and let love flow.
As Ephesians 5:2 says, "Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." Let us love as our Father in Heaven loved us.