Everybody throws the word “love” around every day. We love our dog, our car and social media.
But loving another human being in the same way that God loves us is a very unique kind of love. In the hustle and bustle of life, we can easily fall short of offering this type of love to others because the world tries to wire us in the opposite direction. How exactly can we love like God does?
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How to Love Like God Does
As a follower of Christ, we should strive to love others like God loves us – unconditionally and without expectation in return.
According to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV, Paul gives us some scripture dealing with some of the qualities of agape love, referred to in these verses as charity, which is truly showing the love of God.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love with Agape Love
There are 4 types of love in the Bible. (Eros, Storge, Phileo, and Agape). Of these, Agape love is the highest form of love.
Agape love (pronounced uh-gah-pay). Agape love defines God's immeasurable, incomparable love for humankind. It is the Divine love that is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13. It is unselfish, giving, sacrificial, unconditional love.
Agape love is the foundation from which we can truly love others the way God loves us!
Love is patient
This long-suffering love typically speaks to endurance when we are going through difficult circumstances. But if you think of the kind of long-suffering love that God has toward unrepentant sinners, you'll understand that we need to be patient towards those around us. Showing the love of God calls us to love those people in our lives who repeatedly sin. We aren't to condone their sin. But we should guide them and love them and never give up on them.
Love is kind
This means that love does things without any hope to gain something in return. Be useful, obliging, caring, courteous and helpful. Think about what it means to be kind. When you show kindness to someone, you help them, don't you? During a negative situation, reply with compassion and in a caring, forgiving way.
Love is long-suffering
Similar to patience, long-suffering speaks to your attitude during your trials and relationships. By showing the love of God, you offer grace to the person who does you wrong, instead of being filled with anger or resentment. You'll be more apt to endure the faults of others. Thinking about how to love like God, how long-suffering is He toward mankind?
Love does not envy
Love doesn't get jealous when others are successful or prosperous. Instead, rejoice with them and celebrate! When your neighbor gets a new car, be happy for them. Share in their rejoicing when they find out they're pregnant or they lose weight.
Love does not boast
This simply means that those who reflect biblical love do not think of themselves higher than others and then share that feeling. They aren't conceited or arrogant. They don't talk about how great or important or how rich they are. In Philippians 2:3 NIV, we learn
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
Pure love puts others first.
Love is not proud
The difference between pride and boasting is that pride is the feeling, whereas boasting is to express the feeling. When we talk about being puffed up, it's a physical feeling. It's common to talk about being proud of our children. But since pride is a sin, it's better to use the word, pleased. Proverbs 16:18 tells us that
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Love does not dishonor others
Love acts with courtesy and kindness towards everyone. To dishonor means to act disgracefully or with dishonest character or conduct. It doesn't behave inappropriately toward others. Mind your own business and treat others with respect. And don't judge others!
Love is not selfish
Self-love is natural and it's the basis by which we can love others. God tells us to love thy neighbor as thyself. But we should never seek our own needs to the hurt or neglect of others. We should not insist on our own selfish ways. Rather we should seek the happiness and welfare of others as more important than our own. It's a good thing to sacrifice our personal pleasures to benefit someone else. God, in His infinite act of unselfishness, chose to let Jesus die on the cross as a payment for our sins.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Are you still asking, how to love like God loves?
Love is not easily provoked
Biblical love is not agitated to anger at the words or actions of others. On the other hand, Christians should not try to rile others up to the point of anger, even annoyance. Instead, let's be peaceable, calm and patient with one another.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Roman's 12:18
Love doesn't keep a record of wrongs
Have you ever heard someone say, “I can forgive you, but I'll never forget what you've done”? I don't believe that's the way Jesus wants us to let go of things. Forgive, forget and move on. When someone has wronged you, once you have forgiven them, it needs to be eliminated from your memory and never brought up again. God doesn't keep a list of wrongs once you're forgiven and neither should you.
Love doesn't get excited with evil but rejoices with the truth
We should never find joy in wrongdoing. In a world where TV and social media focuses on sharing the crimes and wrongdoings of others, we should stand for truth, honesty, and righteousness. We should never take pleasure in the misery of others. We should never delight when someone falls into sin, which totally contradicts Christian love. On the other hand, showing the love of God is to delight in the salvation of a new soul, or when one repents of any sin and turns back to God.
Love beareth all things
This is another reminder of perseverance through difficulties. Love endures wrongs, with a heart of forgiveness and grace. The interpretation means that love covers all things, like a roof covers from many elements to protect your home. Basically, as 1 Peter 4:8 tells us
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Love believeth all things
Love trusts and looks for the good in others and not the bad. Love trusts in others and believes that they do things by a goodness of heart. In other words, love believes the best in every situation. It doesn't mean to turn a blind eye to the sins and problems that people struggle with. It simply means we don't give up on others.
Love hopeth all things
Remember Hebrews 11:1:
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Faith is not an empty hope, but a trust in God that all things will work out for our good and for God's glory. The agape love of someone expects the best in someone and believes that they will be able to overcome their sin, come to repentance and accept the free gift of salvation.
Love endureth all things
It approaches every situation, afflictions, tribulations, temptations, and persecutions without complaint and with a positive attitude for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When love endures, it depicts an attitude of a heavy burden but continues on because it knows it's in the right place. In other words, I'm committed to you, regardless of the situation. We'll work it out and we're hanging in there until the end. God is showing us how to love by enduring this hateful and sin-filled world. He has a great plan and Jesus will be victorious in the end. Every effort brings you closer to God.
The Only Way to Love Like God
If you wrap up all the characteristics of love described in 1 Corinthians 13 there is only one way to know how to love like God loves: To love others unconditionally. Agape love is patient, kind, believing, forgiving, trusting, encouraging, and long-suffering.
To love others like God loves you, give more grace and less judgment to everyone in this world. That includes people that you don't like, don't know and don't agree with.
We don't all naturally show the love of God. We have to practice. It's a choice! The closer we are to God, the easier it is to practice and live in agape love. I encourage you to make the effort. Study the characteristics of love as described in 1 Corinthians 13. Pray for strength to love better, wiser, longer and with the goal to love like God. You will never regret it.
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