For God so loved…
And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three: but the greatest of these is love.” First Corinthians chapter 13 is called the love chapter of the Bible.
Why is love greater than faith that can move mountains or hope that lets us believe against all odds? Someone pointed out that our faith is in God, our hope is for the future, but our love is to be given to others. It cannot be manufactured or imitated.
The love chapter is the expression of our love toward others who may not deserve it. Human love is when we receive what others do for us, whereas divine love is what we give to others. We can only receive it directly from God and then pass it on which is the only way love can grow within us.
God’s love is based on who He is, not who we are. It is offered to us out of mercy, because we could never earn it or deserve it. This divine love is so extraordinary that it can only come from the Fruit of the Holy Spirit living through us. This kind of love for God and others proves to the world that we are, indeed, a genuine Christian.
We know the first commandment is to love the Lord God with all our heart, the second one is to love our neighbor as ourselves and the third one is for Christians to love one another.
This divine love is an attitude, not a feeling. The Apostle John was changed from the Son of Thunder (who wanted to call down fire and destroy a whole village) into the Apostle of Love.
The cost of this love will be sacrificial. The Lord’s Prayer requires us to forgive others who have hurt and wronged us. It cost the Good Samaritan time and money, the Good Shepherd the difficulty of looking for his one lost sheep and Mary of Bethany about a year’s salary for ointment to anoint the feet of Jesus for burial. The reward of this love, however, will be greater than its sacrifice.
God did not change me in order to love me, but loved me in order to change me so I might love Him and others. May the Lord fill us with His love and pour it out to a thirsty world.
Steve Conwell is pastor of Maranatha Baptist Church. He is heard mornings on WFLO and WVHL in “A Thought for Today.” His email address is SteveConwell@outlook.com.