The Bible is all about love and it tells us that God is the epitome of love. John 3:16 says that He gave His own Son as a sacrifice for us, and although this shows what the essence of love is, it gets lost in the modern world. Even in the Christian realm love has been confused with emotions and social liberation, and too many people have lost the true meaning of the word and really wonder, what is love?
Love is the motivation within us that causes us to act and react the way we do. It’s the virtue that allows us to love others. It’s the commitment to God, the reverence and respect for Him, the appreciation for the life He has given us, and the reason for our devotion to Him. It is the most important virtue that we have and without it we are nothing but shells that exist through the natural creation of humanity.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 tells us the importance of love:
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself (does not boast), is not puffed up,
5 Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil;
6 Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abides faith, hope, charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Why is love the greatest virtue? Why is it more important than faith in God?
We can learn about God; we can accept everything we read about God; and we can understand all that He is. We can even believe that He is God and that His Word is life and that it is power. This is the knowledge that is the foundation for love and the basis for our faith in Him. But we must activate our faith to show our love because without love our actions are carnal.
James 2:20 says, “Faith without works is dead.”
Love is the feeling in our heart, the commitment, the devotion, the allegiance and constancy, the trustworthiness and the dependence that we have towards God. We can know it all but there’s only one way to get it in our heart, and that is through the Holy Spirit. He is love, God’s love in us.
When His Holy Spirit is in us, the love of God resides in us and we inherit His loving personality. We have the same heartfelt commitment and purpose as God and our reason for doing what we do is because we want to share the truth of God with others. It’s not just an emotion or an obligation as a Christian; it’s God’s love living and loving through us.
And when His love is in us we are able to love others in spite of their faults, and we are able to forgive those who hurt us and offend us, and we are able to do all that we do with a pure heart because we don’t treat others badly or the way some of them may treat us. We treat them the way that Jesus treats us – with love.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.” … 1 John 4:7