Love is something everyone needs to in order to thrive and be happy, yet most people don’t know what it really means to love and be loved. Many only know how the world defines love, and they identify with it in emotional or physical terms, but God’s love goes much deeper than that. Some people exist a long time feeling like something is missing from their lives, but they don’t know exactly what. We only begin to understand love when we realize God’s true nature.
The world loves conditionally, and we’ve grown accustomed to that. We see popular, high profile people who fall out of favor with society, and some of us have experienced what it feels like to have friends and even family turn their backs on us when we don’t do what they want us to do. God isn’t like that. “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6, NKJV). It can be scary when we know we’re on our own and we have to fend for ourselves, but God will never abandon us in tough times.
He is the great I Am (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58) that has existed even before the beginning of time, and the very essence of love itself (1 John 4:8, 16). When we allow this never-ending force to motivate everything we do, we find ourselves walking in love, like Jesus commanded. Love isn’t an emotion or a feeling, but a conscious decision we make. Deepening our relationship with Christ gives us a correspondingly deeper understanding of what it means for our lives when we choose to live out this decision.
Love isn’t the motivating force in the world, so there’s a great need for those who have received God’s unconditional love to pass it on to others (Matthew 9:37, 38; Luke 10:2). We don’t have to go very far to encounter the widespread fear and hopelessness in which most people operate. The great I Am has equipped and empowered us for the task, and what we have can change lives.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus demonstrated love in everything He did. Our actions speak louder than our words, and the world is watching everything we do as Christians. When our own weaknesses or fears hold us back from demonstrating the kind of love Jesus showed, we can depend on the one who initially set the example for us to follow. “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Regardless of how we may feel at the moment, we’re well able to do what needs to be done because of the strength He gives us.
Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth described what love is, and what it isn’t (1 Corinthians 13:1-13). Demonstrating the spirit of this is a tall order for us if we try to do it through our own self-efforts. The challenges we’re guaranteed to face and struggle with every day are sure to defeat us unless we depend daily on God’s help in this area.
The saying “Preach the Gospel, and use words if necessary” applies here. As believers who are the light of the world, we shine that light not as much by what we say but by what we do. Lives hang in the balance, and our actions demonstrate God’s love to others.