What is Love?

What is Love?

Love is a Heart-Felt Action

The English language has a poor comprehension of the word ‘love’, because it has many different meanings. In Greek, there are actually six different words that all translate to the word “love” in English, such as agape versus phileo. The “love” expected of us is elaborated by the servant Paul.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Greatest Love Of All

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love] (1 John 4:18, Amp)

Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly! (Romans 5:8, TPT)

The word God’s Love, “Agape” is always an active word, something is always done. You do it to people you do not like, to people who are your enemies, to people who hate you. This is the highest love among humans. Agape reaches out to the unlovely, to the ungrateful, to the hateful, horrible, unattractive. When men are helpless and in desperate need, then Agape is a reaction to that situation which transforms itself into action. This is the sort of love God has, and that is why every mention of God’s love is linked to the cross. If you tell unbelievers that God loves you, they will assume that they are attractive in their state of sin and self-righteousness and do not need to turn from themselves and change. Love and forgiveness belong together.

Love in Community

You cannot love if you isolate yourself - You need to be around others who can recieve and give the same Christ-like love. We follow those two greatest commandments—loving God and loving our neighbors—by imitating Jesus himself, and then teaching others to do the same. That is essentially what it means to be a disciple, or to be a Christian; it is to be someone who imitates Christ, or to be someone who imitates someone who imitates Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

If one will do as Christ commanded, one will discover eternal life or love and peace, of joy unimaginable, a place where the knowledge of good and evil is replaced with divine love. A place where all of your ego “issues” vanish, a place that is very real. We call it heaven. It is real, it is a place, and it is hidden, a secret, unknowable unless it is revealed by the Creator. Search it out for yourself through faith and obedience to Christ. Find Christ and you have discovered the country! Don’t just believe in it, or have faith it exists, Jesus commanded us to find it, for it is in Him, and Him alone. The knowledge of good and evil does not work well, and the story of humanity proves it does not work at all.

So while the disciples were trained to create disciples, and to teach, and to cast out demons, and to heal, the most important thing is that they were instructed to love, and to do all these things in that love.

By having regular, loving fellowship with the other disciples. We human beings here on Earth are the physical body of Jesus in his stead while He remains in Heaven, until he returns to rule and reign here on Earth. As the body of Christ, we are many body parts (1 Corinthians 12:12-31), and we must take our place in loving harmony with the other body parts.

By making more disciples. That is what Jesus did during his entire time of ministry on Earth. That is how Christianity—the fully realized structured kingdom of Jesus—came to be.

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy, BUT I DON’T LOVE, I’M NOTHING BUT THE CREAKING OF A RUSTY GATE. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, BUT I DON’T LOVE, I’M NOTHING. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, BUT I DON’T LOVE, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’M BANKRUPT WITHOUT LOVE.

Humans idolize and worship what they admire… That doesn’t mean that the subject of idolatry is LOVING! In fact, more often than not, the intoxicating mix of a need to be adored, and the admiration of people, reveal the absence of LOVE, thus the creaking of a rusty gate… Shhh… Can you hear it, Friend?

Love is COMPASSION IN ACTION! Only a relationship with God can teach you how to be COMPASSIONATE IN ACTION.

What force is predominant in my life? LOVE or FEAR? Ask yourself that question often. Love unites, bonds, brings together, feels empathy, creates community. Fear separates, pulls away, condemns, blames, creates differences, runs away, avoids comparisons, protects self from suffering, and unwelcome inconvenience. The habit of compassion, is the actual practice of relieving people of their suffering. Once you can empathize with another person, and understand his humanity and suffering, the next step is to want that person to be free from suffering. This is the heart of compassion — actually the definition of it.

I believe compassion to be a spiritual quality second to none. Compassion is a derivative of the deepest expression of love there is. Compassion is one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term joy, fulfillment and peace. The kind that sticks!

God is the very model of love and compassion. This is the way the author of Exodus described the encounter between God and Moses in Mount Sinai:

“Then he passed in front of Moses, calling out, “The Lord, the Lord, a COMPASSIONATE and MERCIFUL GOD, patient, always faithful and ready to forgive. He continues to show his love to thousands of generations, forgiving wrongdoing, disobedience, and sin.” Exodus 34:6-7 (God’s Word Translation)

“Compassion is an emotion that is a sense of SHARED SUFFERING, most often combined with a desire to alleviate or REDUCE THE SUFFERING OF ANOTHER; to show special kindness to those who suffer. Compassion essentially arises through empathy, and is often characterized through ACTIONS, wherein a person acting with compassion will seek to aid those they feel compassionate for.”

Love in the eyes of God when on this earth was the greatest commandment . . . His prime directive—Let God love you, live loved, love God, love self, love neighbor, love stranger, alien, immigrants, LGTBQ, without racial or gender discrimination, the homeless, outsiders, outcast, and enemies, as he himself modeled it.

The new commandment of love (John 13:35) meant that neither beliefs nor words, nor dogmas, neither taboos, systems, structures, organized religion, nor the labels that enshrined them mattered most.

The “new wine” (love and compassion) demands “new containers” (new system, new movement, a fresh relational theology, for ALL people). ONE GOD for ALL people.

Love decenters everything else; love shifts all religious obsessions into a minimalist basic ethos of community such as the early Apostolic church.

Love relativizes everything else; love takes priority over everything else—literally everything.

In fact love becomes more important than “right and wrong” according to religious or cultural constructs.

At the end of time, at the Second Coming of God, the Biblical narrative says there will only be two groups of people.

Those who understood “LOVE IS ENOUGH” and those who didn’t (Matthew 25:31-46)

God’s minimalist relational theology will be made clear. The core of God ethos as a qualification for eternal life is not doctrines or belief systems but LOVE and COMPASSION.

Love is the only creative, constructive, and forward-leaning message of God for people from all religions and all walks of life.

I believe that the greatest challenges followers of God will face is how to remain loving and compassionate in the midst of a world where most people will lose their ability to love and be loved. (Matthew 24:12)

To understand the love of God. The only thing that makes you compassionate towards sinners and people who you feel deserve punishment and discipline for what they have done is the LOVE OF GOD.

“When we trust in him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go…My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a GLORIOUS INNER STRENGTH—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. (Ephesians 3: 12-21)

There will be no peace in your heart until you experience the love and the grace of God. When someone has hurt you badly, betrayed you to the bone, the human side of you only considers consequences, punishment and pain. When you have been touched by the passionate love of God, you will long to see people turning to God.

To be a follower of God is costly! To stand against the popular trends is costly! It was costly to Jesus. It was costly to the apostles. It will be costly for anyone who chooses a radical discipleship in behalf of God’s cause in the world.

Love Suffers Innocently

C. S. Lewis wrote, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.”

If you love God, you also will suffer as a result, because people will attack you for your love for Him and your radical position on issues. That is what happened with the church of Smyrna in the book of Revelation. Here is what Jesus’ had to say to this suffering church:

I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan. Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life. Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death. (Revelation 2:9–11)

This is the shortest of the seven messages Jesus gave to these churches, and it is interesting to note there are no critical words. Jesus simply commended and encouraged this church. And instead of destroying the church, persecution actually strengthened it.