So what is love?
There are four different types of love in the Bible and the one we’re looking at is agape love.
Agape love is the highest form of love; it’s selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional. It’s more than a feeling that affects our emotions; it’s active and it demonstrates itself through actions.
Two new commandments
Jesus shares two commandments in the New Testament where all the laws in the Old Testament are fulfilled. And those two laws are found in Matthew 22:37-40, which says,
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
From this scripture, we need to know where love stems from and why we CAN love our neighbor.
God is love
God doesn’t have love; He IS love.
1 John 4:16 says,
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
The very essence of love stems out of who God is. And not only that, if love is unconditional, selfless and is revealed through action, God truly showed us how much He loves us.
He gave His very best, His one and only Son (John 3:16) so that we could have a relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit.
To love God, is to recognize who He is in our lives, and that without Him we are nothing.
As we devote and surrender ourselves to God in meditating on the Word, prayer, worship, praise, we are opening our heart to Him. We want His very nature to penetrate into every fibre of our being so that we are children who are led by Him.
When we love someone, our heart and affection is turned toward them. We can use words that are said or written that express our love to God. But, the ultimate way we show God that we love Him is by doing what He says and loving others.
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1 John 4:20
So then the question is, how do we love people?
It can be easier to love people that you connect with, are friends with or are really close to.
But, Jesus doesn’t want us to just focus on those that are easy to love; He wants us to love those we don’t know, the ones who are hurting and sad, who are in need, and even the unlovable – those that may not have treated you right.
1 John 4:7-8 says,
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
If we can view every person on this earth as someone created by God (because they are), we are choosing to see others through the lens of love.
But if the lens we are carrying about ourselves is distorted, we will pick up that same lens when we look at others and view them the same way.
If we are to love others as ourselves, loving ourselves doesn’t have to do with finding 5 things about yourself that you like and then doing the same for another person. To love yourself has everything to do with looking at the One who created you and seeing the value that you have because you are here on this earth.
You are born for such a time as this and there is no one like you. You are uniquely created with a purpose, calling and destiny to be fulfilled impacting the earth with heaven.
Putting it together
Now, the ability to love others should be seen with the same lenses that you look through when you look at yourself.
When we view others as insignificant, we’re really saying that we view ourselves as insignificant. If we don’t value who we are in God, we’ll never value another person, because just like us, they are also made in the image of God.
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Is loving ourselves always easy? Or, is loving others always easy? Nope, it’s not!
But, it’s a beautiful thing when you can look past imperfections and insecurities and choose to look through the lens of Love, the One who made you. Then, we all are significant and beautiful no matter how messy our lives are.
Nobody loses when we choose to love each other.
How do you keep your mindset in a frame to love God and love people? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Anchored in Jesus,