Love. What do you think of when you hear that word? Do you think of a kiss between a man and woman? Do you think of a parent loving up on his or her child? Maybe you think of the way Hollywood displays love in the films they produce. Or maybe you think one person caring for another. Either way, in today’s world, love is shown to be many different things and not all of them are right.
Most of you have heard the saying that “God is love”. It is absolutely true. But if we don’t know what love is, how can we even begin to know what God is?
1 John 4:7-8
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
We are taught that one of the greatest commandments given is to love your neighbor as yourself. That means that it is necessary to really understand what love is, so we can do what God asks of us too.
Let’s first look at what the Bible says about love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
It seems a pretty straightforward answer, does it not? But it is not so easy to carry out. To love one another we must be patient and kind. We must not be jealous or boastful or proud or rude. We must not demand our own way. We must not be irritable. You see the point.
We cannot live up to these standards, not without God’s help. But God definitely lives up to this and more. He is perfect, sovereign, and holy. Holy means to be set apart. God is set apart from us. The best part is that love will last forever!
Though God is love, sometimes we doubt that this is true. Why? Because we see the destruction and death that God allows in this world He created. How could a loving God allow this? He has every right, the only right, to allow it and much worse because we are the ones who sinned against Him in the beginning. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin this place became a sinful world. The death and destruction are the consequences of our actions. God gave us the consequences that we deserved. But God was so loving that He didn’t leave us in the pit we had dug for ourselves. He sent his only Son to live with us and die for us. To save us from ourselves.
Have you ever heard that a parent spanks his or her kid out of love? That it is as hard for the parent to spank or punish the kid as it is for the kid to receive that punishment? It is kind of the same thing when God allows us to get consequences for our sins.
What I’m trying to get at is that sometimes loving a person doesn’t mean giving them what they want. Sometimes it means giving them what they need. And a lot of the time that is not what they want.
So as we start this new year, let’s grow and learn in our love for one another. Knowing that when we follow God, we’ll be giving what people need, even if it is not what they want.
I hope that this year is filled with blessings and joy for every single one of you.
Happy New Year!