Love is what binds and meaningfully drives our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, and with all our fellow mankind. Love of God and others is required in our walk with Jesus. Love is not an option in our Christian walk.
I would like to toss out some thoughts and samples to help us identify the importance of love in our walk with God. Have you witnessed and identified love expressed or shown to you by others? If you look, you can find love (in big or small ways) expressed in one form or another towards yourself. Have you shown love to others, to God? Christ can help us to love. We all have a need to be loved and to accepted. Even those who would harm us need love.
1 John 4:8 (NIV) "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
1 John 4:16-17 (NIV) "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus."
Here are nine principles from Mildred’s book that I liked:
A Theology of Love by Mildred Bangs Wynkoop [copyright 1972, 2015]
Nine Implications of a theology of love as given by Mildred in her book;
“Love is deeper than the popular concept of it”
“Love implicates us in ethics”
“Love is a uniquely personal thing”
“Love is ‘Happiness’ (John Wesley’s sense of the word)”
“Love is never superficial”
“Love ‘Sturdies’ the soul”
“Love is creative”
“Love is outreach”
“Love is psychologically oriented. That is when love is spoken of, it is the action and reaction of the conscious life of people that is meant. … It is in joy, sorrow, tension, pain, power, frustration, moods, modes of behavior—these and everything else having to do with that complex which is life—that love must be viewed.”
John 3:16 (NIV) "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (NIV) "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
Let me throw out some short samples of love expressed I’ve experienced. See if you can see an expression of love in them. What samples do you have that are significant to you?
Warm blanket in an unheated Colorado home at winter bedtime
Hug from a parent or friend
Dad lets you hang on car door while on a bike during the trip home for lunch from school (slow pace)
Beautiful woman/man agrees to marry you
Shared candy from siblings or kids at the playground
Person stopping to help with your car problem
Greeting cards from your children/family
Spouse/loved one taking your hand or arm as you walk together
Mother holding and smiling at her newborn
Words of encouragement from a friend or pastor
Prayer given upon your behalf by others
Someone telling you they love you
Dad letting you stand on top of his shoes as he walks when he gets home from work
Getting your "ouchy" kissed to make it better
Parents teaching you how to cook or repair things
Handshake from a friend or new introduction
Smile from a teacher
Dying on a cross out of love for everyone
Hearing "well done" by your creator when you stand before him
Love is all important, and may not be easy for many of us to express. Let’s love God and let His love teach us how to love others, and ourselves. Amen