Love is a commitment of the heart that we have towards someone and this begins with our love for God. In Mark 12:30 we are told to “…love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul and with all our strength.” We see that love is a commitment of our entire being without exception, and that nothing anyone can do or say will overpower the devotion, respect, loyalty or commitment we have within us towards God. And share this love with other people.
Love is not an emotion. It is not a feeling. It is not subject to our surroundings, turned on by appearance or responsive to sensual lust. Love is a conviction of the heart and has nothing to do with our senses, our emotions or our circumstances, although these will be greatly affected by the love we have in us.
It’s a compassion that molds our character and is often seen by others as a good virtue, but it’s really just our nature – God’s nature in us – that is spilling out onto those around us. God tells us in Matthew 22:39 to love our neighbours as much as we love ourselves. This means that we treat other people the way that we treat ourselves and that we do it regardless of our feelings, our culture, our opinions or our financial status.
If every person could do this, we would never have an issue with racism or political indifference. We’d respect each other’s opinion and we’d never puff ourselves up above anyone else who didn’t have the money, education, successful career or outside beauty that we have. We’d see everyone around us through God’s eyes and we’d treat them the way we want to be treated.
Love is a conviction of our heart. It is not the infatuation that we have for someone we are sexually attracted to, and it is not the passionate sexual experience that we covet in them. These are lusts of the body and of the mind, and are not from the heart. Yet, when a married man and woman make love, it is an extension of the heartfelt commitment that they have for each other, and Hebrews 13:4 says that this is blessed by the Lord.
Love has no fear but is totally trusting, and in 1 John 4:18 it says, “There is no fear in love.” When we are filled with God’s love we are not afraid because we know that He lives in us, that He loves us and that He gives us the wisdom and the strength, through prayer, to conquer all things that come against us. He says in Romans 8:15 that He has not given us the spirit of fear but of sound mind where we can cry out to Him and know that He’s with us and will help us.
The love that we have inside us needs to be shared with those around us and we can’t let pride or circumstances raise us up in our own minds so that we feel superior to anyone. In 1 Corinthians 13:4 it says, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.”
When someone needs our help or asks for something, we should always be willing to share what we have with them, whether it’s tangible things, a helping hand or a fervent prayer. In Acts 3:6 a lame man asked Peter for money, and since Peter didn’t have any money to give, he laid hands on him and healed the man instead. He didn’t just walk away.
Love is not showing ourselves to be Godly and caring people in public places, yet self-righteous and uncaring the rest of the time.
If we keep the love of God locked into our hearts and don’t act on it and don’t share it with anyone, how can those around us ever see the goodness of God through us? God is a spirit and when we’re born again, His Spirit comes and lives in us so that we become ambassadors for Christ, and our commission is to show the love of God to the people around us.
It’s not enough to speak about love and appear righteous; we need to act in love – in God’s love – and be righteous.
“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” … 1 John 4:20