Love is all around us, isn’t it? People love to talk about love. They’re in love, or out of it…or maybe they’re wanting to find more of it, or perhaps they just lost a loved one and they miss their unique version of love. Everyone longs for it. And there’s the more casual kind of love, too…we “love” our sports or our favorite TV shows. We “love” our favorite authors or ice cream shop. Love is totally amazing! It can wound us deeply or drive us to tremendous acts of courage. It can literally change our day in a good or bad way, instantly.
But you know what? As a pastor, I find that often love is totally misunderstood. So often I hear people talk about it, and I realize they don’t realize what it’s all about. But the cool thing is God knows that about us. So He told us why He created love.
Jesus told us, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
So Jesus points at the cross and says, “This is love.”
As a pastor, it hurts my heart that the world is hearing less and less about the finished work of Jesus on the cross. The cross of Jesus is the ultimate act of love found in human history! All the sin, all the shame, of all of us…on his shoulders. We didn’t deserve it, but He freely gave it to us.
And as we think even deeper about love, we start to realize that God’s love is deeply motivated and empowered by the Spirit. Each and every day, that same Spirit is encouraging us, reminding us that the same love that was displayed and bestowed on us has a destination. Jesus doesn’t want it to stop with us. He wants us to let it flow through us, into the world, to bless others. So powerful, right?
In one of the most famous and beloved passages of scripture – 1 Corinthians 13 – the Apostle Paul uses verbs to define love. Why did he do that? I think it’s totally mind blowing…
God wants His love to be on the move.
God’s love is defined and displayed in action. So just like the cross of Jesus, our love is on display. What is our display of love shouting to the world around us? Is it self-sacrificial or self-absorbed? God’s love is a love that puts others before ourselves. It’s a love that fulfills us because we get to watch others bloom. A love that is so selfless that it glorifies our God.
I like to put it this way: we extend love not because other people are lovable, but because we have experienced real love. And we want to share that love with the world.
What would it look like if your life was characterized by love? In the midst of the chaos we live in, love speaks louder and bolder than anything. Yet we live in a world that misunderstands love. So the people of God, inspired by the Spirit of God, must follow the word of God and display the love of God. Only then can others find God…and through that, reach even more people with His love!