And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31
With “love” on the mind of many people each February let’s take a moment to examine “love” in the Bible. While we are to love others, and have a self-sacrificing, giving type love, for another to demonstrate true love, we must start with loving God first. True Love for Others Starts with Loving God First…
We all know that people who do not love God are still capable of loving others. In fact, you may know some lost people who appear to demonstrate love better than some Christians you know. Everyone is capable of some level of loving others. To make it deeper and longer lasting, it must have a stronger foundation. It must begin with loving God, which starts when a person realizes how much God loves them.
To discover what this love for God looks like, we will look at each verse in the Book of First John that includes the word “love.”
“Love” is found 23 times in these five short chapters. Take a moment to read each verse then make an application in your life for today. Here they are:
- 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (“Perfected” means completed or matured.)
- 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
- 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
- 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
- 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
- 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
- 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
- 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
- 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
- 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
- 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
- 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
- 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (“Propitiation” means payment or atonement. Romans involved in paganism used the word describing the turning away of wrath from their hateful gods. The True God made the only way for true propitiation with His very own Son, Jesus. Only Jesus can make a relationship to God right.)
- 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
- 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
- 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
- 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
- 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
- 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
- 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
- 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
- 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
- 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Did you notice how our love for God involves our heart attitude towards God and His Word? Did you also note that it also includes the actions of our lives towards others? We are not to love the world, its ideas and philosophy, but we are to love God’s Word. To top it off, love does not live in fear of God’s will but in faith that God’s will is best! Some people are fearful of relationships because relationships are risky. A person living this way is not really loving God. Keeping the commands of God are not grievous. In fact, they are very rewarding.
Take a moment to examine your relationship with God and His commands in the Bible.
Take a moment to examine your relationship with worldly philosophies.
Take a moment to examine your relationship with other believers.
Purpose to love God with all of your life and being… Then love for others will become more evident.