1 John 4:7-8
Beloved, let us love and seek the best for one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love has not become acquainted with God, for God is love.
The world will try to convince us that there are many types of love. In reality, what we see is the word love being used in many different ways. If I say I love cheesecake, it is with much less passion than when I say I love my wife. You do not love a child the same way you love a pet. Perhaps the issue is that we may not all understand what love is. The great love chapter in first Corinthians gives us its characteristics, which is much different than the love the world tries to show us. Read through that chapter, and ask yourself whether those are characteristics you carry on your own apart from God. Some honest self-reflection would indicate that we indeed are not patient, kind and selfless on our own. We are not forgiving and long suffering by nature. If we are to love as God loves, we can only do so after He has imparted that capacity to us. It just might be his favorite part to add.
We all know what flawed love looks like either because we have received it or given it. When we see a parent show more affection to one child than the other because of any number of reasons, we see a flawed love. When a husband or wife decides to throw in the towel because time and the circumstances of life have altered the dream too much, we see a flawed love. When we see someone turn their back on God or the church because of difficulty or misunderstanding, we see a flawed love. What makes us hang in there and love someone when our flesh decides it is no longer worth it is nothing other than a God-given capacity to love. Our own brand of love will cause us to seek what is best for ourselves and what is easiest. God’s brand of love causes us to make our feelings and desires take a backseat to doing what is right, just and loving. Without God imparting his love to us, we cannot love correctly.
Love is not merely a feeling or trait that God carries. He is the embodiment of love. He cannot act outside of it. It is not just a part of him, but it is him. There is no part of God that is not loving. We, however, do not possess patient and selfless love by default. It must be given to us. If we want to find an example of good love, we need merely read the account of what God has done for his people over so many years. We have a good Father and a good bridegroom. It is God’s love that has put this entire great plan into motion. It is God’s love that has had us on his mind even before the foundations of creation. Father, thank You for what your love has done for us, and thank You for the amazing privilege of being able to operate in this love as well.