We hear so much today about love. What is love, anyway? Is it a feeling, an attraction, chemistry, or what? Love can certainly be manifested in those ways, for sure, but the real definition of love is that you want the absolute best for someone. In Christian theology, we are told to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), so therefore, we as committed Christians should desire the absolute best for everyone, even those we can’t stand. And what is the absolute best? That would be eternal happiness in heaven with Jesus Christ. And Jesus showed us all that love requires personal sacrifice on our part for that to happen, whether it’s by martyrdom, monetary sacrifice, time sacrifice, prayer sacrifice, or the sacrifice of just being there for someone when you would rather be elsewhere.
Some Christians think that they are saved because they go to Church every Sunday and receive Communion. While that is excellent, Jesus says that there is work to be done in His vineyard (Matthew 20). That work consists of building up His Kingdom on earth. How is this done? Matthew 25:35 says the following:
“for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”
Those people in the following verses who did those good works gained entry into heaven; the ones that did not do those good works went the other way. Building up the Kingdom of God consists of doing the will of God, which is taking care of the poor and boldly proclaiming His gospel. So if you are one of those Christians who go to Church on Sunday and hate your neighbor and the poor the rest of the week, it is recommended that you think long and hard about God’s will for you in His vineyard.
True Christian love should inspire us all to do both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy:
To instruct the ignorant;
To counsel the doubtful;
To admonish sinners;
To bear wrongs patiently;
To forgive offenses willingly;
To comfort the afflicted;
To pray for the living and the dead.
After all, Jesus says that we must bear fruit or pay the consequences:
John 15:2,4,16: Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
“When we’re young, we think that love is a great wonderful attraction between parents and kids. Love means we get things from those we love.
When we’re young adults, we think that love may be some kind of gooey sexual attraction. Love means our constant urges must be satisfied.
When we’re middle aged, we start to learn that love is all about self – sacrifice, and that includes a lot of times when the person we are self-sacrificing for could care less about our self-sacrifice for them.
When we are old, we learn that love is really about valuing the things of the next world infinitely more than the things of this world, and that heartfelt prayer to God is what love is all about..”
Here are some great Scripture verses on love:
Matthew 22: 37-40: And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”
1 Corinthians 13: 1-8, 13: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Romans 13:8-10: Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.
1 John 3:13-19: Do not wonder, brethren, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But if any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before him
1 John 4:7-21: Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because he first loved us. If any one says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.