What is Love?

Free Bible Study Materials for Christian Discipleship
 February 2014

photo courtesy of Thomas R. Stegelmann

Dear fellow disciple-maker,

What is Love?


It's always fun to get a card, candy or flowers on Valentine's Day. The gift is usually from someone special and it lets you know that he or she cares for you. In short, Valentine's Day is about love. Consider these two biblical truths: First, God is love (I John 4:8). Second, God's love is best expressed in Jesus (John 3:16).

The love of God is not just an emotional feeling. God's love is rooted in the idea of commitment. God loved us first and His love is grounded in His determined will to love us no matter what it costs Him and no matter our response. In other words, it takes energy and effort to love. God committed Himself to love us when we least deserved it. God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

It required supernatural power for our Father in heaven to send His Son into the world and supernatural power for Jesus to willingly lay down His life for unworthy people. Through the undeserved grace of God, the Spirit of Jesus can fill our hearts and give us the power to express God's kind of love to the people we know.

What is love? Here are three ways we can demonstrate God's love.

Acceptance

The Spirit of Jesus gives us the power to accept people as they are, not as they should be. This is the way Jesus loved people. He did not require them to earn His love by first cleaning up their lives. The Scriptures instruct us to follow Christ's example. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you (Romans 15:7).

Forgiveness

The Spirit of Jesus gives us the power to forgive people. Forgiveness is probably the hardest Christian virtue to learn. Forgiveness is choice not a feeling. It is a choice to not keep score. It is a choice to not hold what someone did against them. It is a choice to let the past be the past. Bitterness builds walls. Forgiveness builds bridges. Only Jesus can give us the power to forgive. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).

Restoration

The Spirit of Jesus gives us the power to restore people and give them hope. When people fail they need help to rebuild their faith, their marriage, their family, their career, their reputation, etc. In short they need to know that there is hope. Jesus consistently offered people hope. When Peter denied even knowing Jesus, we can only imagine how broken, helpless and hopeless he felt. Fortunately Jesus was not done with Peter and thankfully He is not done with us. Despite our personal failure, God still has a plan He wants to fulfill through us. Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently (Galatians 6:1).

Let us love one another for love comes from God (I John 4:7). This is the love people are longing to see and experience.
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photo courtesy of Darwin Bell

New on our web-site:


An archived newsletter on the three dimensions of discipleship -
Up, In and Out

Look at our other articles on LOVE --

How Great is Our God

Jesus is Love

Jesus, Lover Of My Soul


Author:Paul Schlieker  www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com


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