Abounding in love
Paul concluded the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians by saying, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love,” (1 Cor. 13:13).
Paul called love the “bond of perfection” in Colossians 3:14. Likewise, Jesus stated that all the law and prophets hinge on two commandments.
He said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’” (Matthew 22:37-39).
The bible clearly teaches the importance of love. In fact, we cannot know God unless we are people of love (1 John 4:8). So, the question is, “How do we abound in love that we might always be pleasing unto our God?”
Know Agape Love. This agape love is the highest form of love. It is unconditional in its nature. One cannot earn or merit this love. Instead, it is freely given. It is not an uncontrollable response, but rather a testament of will that one expresses to another.
This love does not come naturally but is taught.
Paul wrote, “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another,” (1 Thessalonians 4:9).
God not only taught us how to love, but He also demonstrated His great love to us.
Again Paul writes, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).
Agape love knows no boundaries. It does not come with limits, nor can it ever be revoked. It is certainly not an easy type of love to achieve within one’s heart. The great challenge of agape love is to love someone who does not love you back. In fact, the other person may even hate and despise you, yet agape love compels us to love them regardless.
Jesus sets a high standard for us.
He taught, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…” (Matthew 5:44).
We may look at this teaching of Christ and think it is impossible to achieve. However, consider the example of Christ while He was suffering upon the cross.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do,” (Luke 23:34).
Know the Development of Love. When it comes to our love, Jesus gives us a high standard to live up to. He does this by teaching us to love our enemies. He does this also by teaching us how much we are to love each other.
He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” (John 13:34-35).
It is difficult for us even to begin to fathom the depths of love that Christ has for us. He loved us to such a great degree, that He left the heavenly glory behind to become one of us. He not only became a man, but He was obedient unto the Father, even to the point of death on the cross (cf. Philippians 2:5-8).
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was filled with such agony that He sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44).
He prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done,” (Luke 22:42).
His love for us was so great, that He went to the cross so that your sins and mine could be washed away in His precious blood.
The command that Jesus gave to us was to love one another as He has loved us. This is the great challenge of love. It is a love of such magnitude that it is difficult to comprehend, let alone implementing this level of love toward others. But what this does is that it gives us a goal to strive for. Do we ever think we love enough? Think again. There is always room for us to grow in our love for each other.
Remember the words of Paul, who wrote concerning love, “And indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more,” (1 Thessalonians 4:10).
Can we improve on our love? Absolutely! We accomplish this by looking at the example of the love of our God. We see how greatly He has loved us and we find the motivation to grow in love for Him and for our fellow man. When we do so, we imitate the very love God has shown to us. Therefore, let us always abound in love! God Bless each of you.