2 John 1:6 – Love means doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.
If the Bible says love needs to be central to our lives—let’s take a few moments to consider what love really is.
1. Love is a command:- God commands that we love each other: “Love means doing what God has commanded us” (2 John 1:6a).
God would never command you to do something that He doesn’t give you the power and the ability to do. Imagine seeing a little kid who’s crying and upset, and saying: “I command you to be happy!” You simply can’t command someone to feel a certain way. That means that love is not a feeling.
2. Love is a choice:- The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:1, “Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does”. If you “go after” something, that means you make a choice. Love is a choice. We choose to love or not to love.
Acting in love when you don’t feel like it is actually a higher level of love than when you do feel like it. It’s one thing to love when the flowers are in bloom, but the real test of love is in the winter, when things are not going great in your life. You choose to love in spite of how you feel and give the other person what they need, not what they deserve. You choose to love others like God loves us.
3. Love is a conduct:- Love is something you do. The Bible says, “Let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions” (1 John 3:18).
Every day God puts opportunities around us to demonstrate love. The problem is most of the time we’re too busy. How many times have you thought, “I need to call my Mum or Dad; I need to encourage that friend; I need to help my neighbor,” but then you missed the opportunity because something else came up? Love takes advantage of opportunities to serve others.
4. Love is a commitment:- The Bible says in 1 John 4:16b, “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them”.
Our relationship with God is largely affected by our relationship with other people. If we commit to love and stay in love, then we will keep in one with our hearts with God, and He’ll stay one with us—because God is love.
Eternal loving Father, Lord I bless You for You’re love and Your love never fails. Lord I pray You teach me to love as You do. May I grow daily in love as I make a decision to love and to act in love. May I love in spite of how I feel. I commit myself to living a life of love. Help me Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Proverbs 12:25 – A word of encouragement does wonders!
A healthy, strong relationship is always built on two legs: confronting in truth and affirming in love. If you only have one of these legs in your relationship, it isn’t going to stand. It will fall over at just about anything!
The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable. If I were to come to you today and say, “Let’s go have some ice cream. I want to point out the areas in your life that need changing,” you would not be thanking me for it. You’d be resentful, rebellious, resistant, and stubborn. You would be miserable, because when you share the truth, at first it hurts. Sometimes a surgeon has to cut out a cancer in order for a body to heal.
When you are having a speaking-the-truth-in-love session with somebody, you begin and end on a positive note, and you affirm three things:
1. Affirm that you love and care for that person.
2. Affirm that you will pray for and help that person.
3. Affirm that you believe that person can change.
Paul did this in 1 and 2 Corinthians. In both books, he begins and ends with affirmation. For example: Paul begins his first letter by saying, “I always thank God for you,” and at the end of the book he says, “My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.” Between that he’s dealing with some very tough truths. He begins and ends on a positive note, but he also includes affirmations like this in the middle of his second letter: “I have great confidence in you, and I have a lot of reasons to be proud of you” (2 Corinthians 7:4).
Notice that Paul used the word “and.” You should never use the word “but” in a confrontation. The moment you do, whatever you say before or after will be totally ignored and invalidated: “I think you’re a great person, but . . .” “We’ve been friends a long time, but . . .” Instead, use the word “and”: “You’re a great person, and I believe you can be even better.” “We’ve got a great relationship, and I believe there are some things we need to work on.” That’s what it means to affirm someone.
Gracious Heavenly Father thank You for always correcting and rebuking me in love. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit and other honest people who keep correcting me in love. Lord I pray for wisdom, Grace and courage to be able to confront in truth and affirm in love always. I also pray for humility to accept corrections. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Romans 14:19 – We must always aim at those things that bring peace and that help strengthen one another.
Love is built on trust. When you really love people, you believe in them. You trust them. You build their confidence. You relieve their fears. And then your trust causes them to blossom.
If you can’t learn to trust people, you’ll never learn to love or learn to be loved. A lot of people who think they have a love problem really have a trust problem, because love and trust go together.
When Jesus went to His hometown of Nazareth, the people who heard Him teach did not believe Him. As a result, Jesus “could not do any miracles there, except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mark 6:5-6).
It wasn’t Jesus’ lack of faith that prevented the miracles. He could not do a good work in his hometown because of the people’s lack of faith and trust in Him.
If that’s true of Jesus, then it’s definitely true of you. When people don’t trust you, you are not empowered to reach your potential. And when you don’t trust other people, you limit them. If people don’t believe in you, trust you, or show confidence in you, then it holds you back. But when the people who love you show faith in you, it brings out the best in you. It gives you faith in yourself. It helps you fulfill your purpose.
Do you want a love that lasts forever? Then show someone that they have your trust. When you do, you’ll build their confidence, and you’ll be amazed at what they will set out to do with God’s help and your faith.
Faithful and trustworthy God, Lord I bless You for You never fail. I put my trust in Your Word and unfailingly love. Lord I know it is difficult to trust my fellow man, but please grant me the grace to trust and love. Let my lack of trust and love not limit people from fulfilling their purpose. Father I pray You teach me to also be lovable and trustworthy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Job 6:14 – Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
If you have a spouse or a friend or a loved one who’s walked away from God, you cannot walk away from them. God wants you to know that they need you now more than ever!
The Bible says, “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty” (Job 6:14). When your loved one is in such a place that they say, “I am in so much pain, I don’t even know if I believe in God right now,” you can say to them, “That’s okay. I’ll believe God for you. I’ll stand by you and carry you through this until God restores what has been lost.”
Lasting love refuses to give up on someone. You can know this because Jesus modeled this kind of love for you. When you were dead in sin, He didn’t walk away. He didn’t just wait it out. He didn’t hold it against you. He didn’t even expect you to pay for what you’d done.
Instead, Jesus believed in you. He saw what you could become with His righteousness. He loved you so perfectly and so unconditionally that He was willing to receive the punishment for your sin. He took on your pain and promised to walk through life with you and give you the hope of Heaven.
Who in your life needs you to show them a glimpse of God’s love by extending grace, expressing faith, and enduring the worst with them?
Father, You’re so loving and so compassionate. You’ve promised never to leave me nor forsake me even when I go astray. You remain faithful, even when I’m unfaithful. Lord help me to endure the pain of my loved ones and not to give up on them but to show them a glimpse of Your love by extending grace and bearing their burdens. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Colossians 3:13 – Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
The longer you know someone, the easier it is to become critical. As time goes on, you’re more likely to become less gracious.
Showing grace is an ongoing practice. It’s easy to show grace once. But over time, those little annoyances seem to add up, your patience starts to wane, and it’s easier to respond to hurt with hurt.
To experience a love that lasts, choose to be merciful. No relationship—marriage or otherwise—is going to last without forgiveness, acceptance, patience, and a lot of grace.
You get a hundred opportunities each day to extend grace to the people you love. But I want to focus on two specific times when it may be a particular challenge:
1- When their flaws and faults irritate you. The longer you love somebody, the more you know their flaws. You can choose to either be critical or gracious. You can be picky, or you can be kind. You can be a perfectionist, or you can show mercy. Proverbs 17:9 says, “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends”.
2- When their words or actions hurt you. You can’t hold on to anger over a hurt. You can’t stockpile every hurt for ammunition. The Bible says in Colossians 3:13, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others”. You can choose to hold on to a hurt, or you can choose forgiveness. Only one option is healthy, and only one will give you freedom to move forward in love.
Showing grace goes against our nature to fight back, harbor a hurt, and have the last word. But we don’t have to rely on our own strength. Trust that as a follower of Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit working in you to help you choose the things God loves: mercy, compassion, and grace.
Gracious Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love and mercy. For Your mercies are new every morning and they speak better things than Your judgement. Lord I pray for grace to be more gracious, tolerant and forgiving. Let me be quick to choose forgiveness rather than holding on to hurts. Holy Spirit help me choose mercy, compassion and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
1 Corinthians 13:6-8a – Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
I once read about Dr. E.V. Hill. He was a tremendous man of God and an intellectual giant. He was also a man of integrity who was not afraid to call it as he saw it. Because of the many times in his ministry he called out injustice, he faced constant death threats.
After something he said one Sunday morning, there was a threat that he was going to be bombed the next week, and he took it very seriously. One day that week he came home and noticed his car wasn’t there. He immediately thought that either somebody had stolen it or someone was tampering with it to plant a bomb in it. He sat down on his front steps, deeply worried. About 30 minutes later, his wife, who was well aware of the threat, drove in in that very same car.
“What are you doing?” he yelled, frightened that she had taken such a risk. She said, “I got thinking, this community needs you more than it needs me. If they were going to bomb the car, I wanted me to be in it, not you.” Dr. Hill later said, “I always knew that my wife loved me. But then I finally understood what love was all about.”
Dr. and Mrs. Hill knew that love is not something you feel. Love is not something you say. Love is something you do.
Notice all the action steps in today’s Scripture. Love rejoices, protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. These are things that you do. Love doesn’t just talk or offer lip service. Love makes a choice every day to do for others what God has done for us.
You don’t have to wonder what it means to love. God showed us clearly what love does, and then He gave us the greatest example of love when He sacrificed His Son Jesus.
Gracious and merciful Father, my precious Redeemer, I bless You for showing me love and teaching me how to love. Lord even as I make the choice to love, may I also do love. For love is not something I feel but what I do. Father continue to teach me and help me to love more than ever before. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
John 13:35 – Everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
The distinguishing mark of a Christian is not a crucifix, a dove, or a sticker. The sign of a Christian is love. How many people know you’re a Christian because of your loving lifestyle?
We sing about love, talk about love, pray about love, and study love. But do we do it? To develop love as your life principle and make it your greatest aim, you have to take action. Love acts! Start acting loving in your current relationships. Have you acted unlovingly toward someone, and it’s time to seek reconciliation? Make things right with your kids, your spouse, your friend, your parents, or someone at school or work.
You spell love T-I-M-E. It takes time to love other people. If you love your friends, you’ve got to spend time with them. If you love your kids, you’ve got to spend time with them. If you love Jesus, you’ve got to spend time with Him. Love always costs time and energy. But it’s always worth it.
Can you imagine what would happen if everyone in the church loved like this—if we all committed ourselves to acting in love and giving our time unselfishly so that people could experience a taste of how much God loves them? It would change the world. It would grow God’s Kingdom. It would make God so happy.
People are attracted to Christ more than they are persuaded to Him. They’re attracted by the love of God shown through the people who claim to follow Him. And they won’t care what we know until they first know that we care.
Eternal loving Father, I honour You Lord. Lord forgive me for acting unlovingly towards others. Lord as I purpose to make love my life’s aim, grant me the grace to take action and not only sing or talk about love. Help me Lord to act lovingly and put in more time and energy into my relationships. Lord let others be attracted to Christ by the love of God shown through me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
1 Corinthians 13:2 – If I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. Even when you don’t feel like it, you can choose to do it anyway.
There’s this lady who felt overwhelmed and was battling depression. Her schedule seemed too much to handle. All she did was nag and nag. When she looked at herself, she saw a failure. In her despair, she cried out to the Lord. As she spent more time in the Bible, she found the answer in 1 Corinthians 13. Five words in particular leaped out at her: “Without love, I am nothing.” So she had this to say:
“I realized the single most important thing I could do was love my family. So I began to live my life by love. I began to run my home on love. It was as transforming as when I accepted Christ into my life. It brought the happiness back into my life and my home.”
What made the difference for this young mom? She made a choice. It changed the whole dynamic of her home and the way she saw herself as a mother and as God’s child.
Acting in love when you don’t feel like it is actually a greater expression of love than when you do feel like it. Love is being patient with your spouse when they’re irritable. Love is giving a person what they need, not what they deserve. Etc.
It’s easier to act your way into a feeling than feel your way into an action. If you act in a loving way, eventually the feelings will follow. That’s important to remember when you are trying to love people who seem unlovable.
When you love in spite of your feelings, that’s called loving by faith. And it doesn’t just change the other person, it changes you, too, and makes you more like Jesus.
Merciful and compassionate Father, Lord I bless You. I say thank You for loving me even when I’m unlovable. Father I need Your grace and strength to love even when I don’t feel as to. Help me Lord to always make that conscious decision to love despite how I feel. Let me act my way into the feeling rather than feel my way into the action. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.