I spoke in Part 1 about what matter most. It’s important to consider things like family, our jobs and that sort of thing. But what is it that it’s most important and I said love is.
What Is Then Love?
1. The Bible says that love is a command.
God commands that we love each other. It’s not optional. If we don’t do it, the Bible says that we are sinning. The Bible says this in 2 John 1:6 (NLT): “Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.” Because it is commanded, that means love is not just a feeling. You can’t command a feeling. Love produces feelings, but true love is not just an emotion. Love is more than that. God would never command you to do something that he doesn’t give you the power and the ability to do. And you can’t always control an emotion.
2. The Bible says that love is a choice.
We choose to love, and we choose to not love. It’s a choice. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:1a (NLT), “Let love be your highest goal…” That means make a choice. We choose to love or to not love. So love is not uncontrollable. So often people try to justify a separation or divorce by saying: I just don’t love her anymore. As if that’s totally out of your control and now because you don’t love her that gives you the right to divorce her or leave her.
Love is a choice. So people are really saying: I’m choosing not to love her/him anymore. In fact acting in love when you don’t feel like it, is actually a higher level of love than when you do feel like it. Love is giving a person what they need, not what they deserve. That’s what God does. That’s how God loves us. God doesn’t give us what we deserve. Love is committing to the wellbeing of another person without any guarantees that they’re going to give back to you. That’s love. It’s a command, and it’s a choice. It is not a feeling.
3. The Bible says that love is a conduct.
It’s behaviour. It’s an action. It’s a way of acting. Love is something you do. The Bible says in 1 John 3:18 (NLT), “Dear Children, let us stop just saying we love each other, let us really show it by our actions.” Every minute of the day God is putting around you—right in front of your nose—opportunities to grow in love, opportunities to demonstrate love. The problem is most of the time we’re too busy. We’re too distracted.
4. The Bible says that love is a commitment.
In 1 John 4:16 (NLT) we read, “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” God’s love for us is a commitment to us and to our best. And our relationship with God is affected by our relationship with other people. Love keeps on. Love is durable. Love keeps on giving whether you like it or not. Love keeps on keeping on. Mature love is always tested love. There is no mature love without it being tested first. Paul ends his words about love by reminding us that only love is eternal.
Building A Life Of Love
How do you build a life of real deep love? We’ll be looking at that over the coming weeks, but I can give you five things that you can do this week that will help you get on the road to becoming a truly great person of love. Because this is what matters most in life:
1. Learn how mature love acts and responds.
Personal change always begins with a change in perspective. It involves getting God’s perspective on what love is really like. The world knows little about real, deep love. Get God’s perspective on what love is all about because God is love.
2. Start your day with a daily reminder to love.
The first 10 minutes of your day sets your entire mood for the rest of the day. Get up in the morning and say: “God, I just want to remind myself that the most important thing is love—loving you and loving other people. What matters more than accomplishments are relationships.” At the start of the day before you get busy, pause and say, “Help me to remember this because it’s so easy to forget. Whether I get anything else done in life or not, if I love you and I love other people today, this is not a wasted day.” If you don’t do that, you’ll get halfway into your day and then comes a conflict or a crisis or a confrontation and you’ll slip into being unloving because you didn’t start the day with that in mind.
3. Memorise what God says about love.
The Bible is filled with advice, inspiration, truths, and principles on how to become a loving person. The problem is, you don’t have any of these in your mind when you’re in a situation when you’re tempted to be unloving, to be jealous or envious or angry or impatient or judgemental or critical or any of the other unloving acts we’re all tempted to do on a daily basis. When those situations occur your Bible is usually at home on a shelf and it’s no good in that situation.
But if you will memorise a few verses of what God says about love and put them in your mind, then when you’re in a situation where you need them, God can bring them to remembrance: “Remember what I said…” We need to reprogram our minds, re-pattern our thought life from selfish thoughts to unselfish thoughts to be more loving in the way God wants us to be.
4. Practise acting in unselfish, loving ways.
Love is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more it develops. Practice makes perfect. Were you an expert driver the first time you sat behind a wheel? No—now it’s second nature. You don’t even think about it. When you want to become a truly loving person, you have to intentionally do some things that seem awkward at first. They don’t fit. They don’t seem natural. But if you’ll practise, the more you practise, the more it becomes second nature and you become a genuinely loving person.
5. Get support from other loving people.
This is so important! You’ll never become a loving person sitting by yourself in your room and reading a book. You only learn it in connection to others, in the context of community, in the environment of relationships. You’ve got to get with people if you’re going to learn to be a great loving person, and you can learn how to love by seeing how others love and by practising with them.
Love ever gives.
And ever stands
With open hands.
And while it lives,
For this is love’s perogative–
To give, and give, and give.