Knowing What Love Is

After a morning breakfast meeting, I had a fitness center workout and then a massage later in the afternoon. That might have been a good combination. I found it interesting that my left arm and shoulder seem stronger now than my right. That is different from when I was released from the hospital and the greatest concern was about the weakness and range of motion in my left arm. There always seem to be interesting developments on the road to recovery.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:10 NCV

Forrest Gump told his childhood girlfriend Jenny, “I know what love is.” I am sure there are many others who would claim they “know what love is.” But regardless of how much we know or have experienced about “love” it falls short of truly understanding love. It is also, one thing to have an “understanding” of love, it is another to incorporate what we understand into our lives.

Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to, “love the Lord God with all you heart and to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 NIV) John in his first letter reinforces Jesus’ words. He writes, This is what God commands: that we believe in his Son, Jesus Christ, and that we love each other, just as he commanded. The people who obey God’s commands live in God, and God lives in them…” (1 John 3:23,24 NCV) We see that John says loving God equal obeying God, living in His truth and loving others.

John let’s us know that “love” is a verb. It is reflected in action. My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring.” (1 John 3:18 NCV) 

Our love for God is reflect in walking in His truth and in how we treat others. God demonstrated His love by Jesus coming to die for our sins (John 3:16) and our love is shown in self sacrifice and our treatment of others. This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us. So we should give our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16 NCV)

John says our love for others is a reflection of our love for God. Those two aspects are like two sides of the same coin, they can’t be separated.Those who do not love their brothers and sisters, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen. And God gave us this command: Those who love God must also love their brothers and sisters.”  (1 John 4:20,21 NCV)

This love is practical in its application, and it is a test and evidence of our love for God, “Suppose someone has enough to live and sees a brother or sister in need, but does not help. Then God’s love is not living in that person.”       (1 John 3:17 NCV)

The challenge of loving God, is when we come into relationship with God, we come into relationship with His “family” and those God loves. It is like being a part of a “blended family”  or understanding we have all been “adopted” into the same family. Our actions and love for others is to reflect how God loved us. He accepted us unconditionally and through His love for us has changed our lives. We have the same opportunity as we invest in the lives of others. Outside of God, we really don’t know what love is.