What is love? How is God’s love different?
Love isn’t about me. Love is about God and Jesus. I don’t know the first thing about love. Anything I do that even gets close to love is a result of the Holy Spirit in me. It is growing like a fruit but it is all about God and nothing about me.
Where does love come from? Love comes from the Holy Spirit. It is a gift. It is fruit that grows in us. Left to our own devices, we stink at it.
Jesus is our standard. We fall way short of the goal (aka sin).
Master Jesus the Messiah, Son of God,
have mercy on me a sinner.
Jesus made an amazing sacrifice of dying on the cross and shedding His blood to pay the price for our missing God’s goal for our life. That is love. That is true love.
Because we have received the Holy Spirit, we can actually love, whereas before, we could not. I tried, but it was useless.
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.… We love because he first loved us” | (1 John 4:9–11, 19).
Is love optional? Yes, we get to decide whether to love or not. It is a gift. We can use it or not. It is a fruit that we can cultivate and grow, or not. So we get to decide. We often are not loving. We can be mean and cruel. We have no defense. “Master Jesus the Messiah, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
There is good news in that the Word of God and Jesus offers an understanding of the source, character, requirement and value of love, based on the nature and actions of God our Father. Jesus sums up God’s goal (command) for us as one of loving God and our neighbors.
“You shall love the Master your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ~Jesus | Matthew 22:37
I must confess that I am not the best at this. I am challenged many days. Let’s dig in. There is much to learn on how to love. The Greek word here is ἀγάπη agape. The Greek word agape is often translated “love” in the New Testament.
How is “agape love” different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love. Unlike our English word love, agape is not used in the New Testament to refer to romantic or sexual love.
It does not refer to close friendship or brotherly love”, for which the Greek word philia is used. Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13.