Grace, peace and mercy be abundantly multiplied to you this new month in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen. As a reminder to stimulate us to wholesome thinking and actions, the following scriptures will guide our way; may the LORD through His Spirit illuminate our hearts of understanding regarding this virtue called love. There are two great commandments recorded in Matthew 22:37-40, (King James Version) but my focus is on the second: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (v. 39). 'As' is an adverb meaning, to the same degree, amount or extent; similarly, equally.
What Then Is Love?
Fulfillment of the law;
A virtue that flows;
An anointing to act; or
A passionate affection for another person
Whatever our definition, the character/essence of love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 should be practiced in our relationships with our brethren (Christians) and brothers/neighbors (relatives, unsaved) in the world.
Charity [Love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
Love Is Sacrificial 1 John 3:16 says, Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. As Christ (who is our perfect example of love) laid down His life for us, so we also should do likewise, not in words, but in deeds.
The LORD taught a valuable lesson on love using the parable of the Good Samaritan. He is that Good Samaritan, for no one is good but God. His expectation of us is to go and do likewise daily and as the end draws closer.
One of my kids needed help financially, and as a parent I had to do what I needed to do in order to meet their need and committed to installments. The money was paid off at the expected time; we were grateful for God’s intervention and victory. About 3 months later, the situation of a young man was brought to my attention regarding his immigration status. He needed money to hire an attorney but there was no help available. My initial thought was, ‘I don’t have extra funds to contribute’, but the Spirit right there challenged me – Do I have to know him in order to help him? This was his hour of trial and anguish; would I be a Good Samaritan? The Spirit reminded me of what I had done for my own child and commanded me to go and do likewise for him. It was a sobering and humbling experience, for God brought me to another level of understanding what true love is. The LORD is in the business of molding us into His image and likeness, if only we let Him.
What Are The Signs of Love? Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies [compassion], kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness [gentleness], long-suffering [patience]. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another (Colossians 3:12-13). Matthew 25:34-40; Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me." Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, "Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?" And the King shall answer and say unto them, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” These quotes from a dear minister helped me a lot as I thought about them:
Love is a fruit of the spirit, not an act of the flesh.
Love must be learned first, not the gifts.
Do not love 'just because'. Genesis 25:28 says, And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game.
Love is the force that drives the gifts of the spirit and it empowers all the other virtues to function effectively.