How many times have we all heard, that God’s love is unconditional? I’m sure we all have heard this and we ponder on how we can actually love like God. Showing God’s love isn’t just a one-time thing. In fact, it’s something you have to practice every day, in order to get better.
Being able to love others as God loves us, requires discipline and a willingness to become more like Jesus. I have struggled with my love walk, as I’m sure others have, but when you look in the bible about why it’s important to love like God, you realize without love you ultimately have nothing. There is significant importance on being able to love like God.
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What Does The Bible Say About Love?
Before we even delve into why it’s important to love like God we first need to know what the bible actually says about love. What is love according to God’s word?
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 never fails…. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
This is the basis for what love is and the attributes of love according to God’s word. When you are showing these characteristics you are loving the way God wants you to love. It concludes with saying love never fails!! Powerful! When all else may fail, LOVE will never fail.
Using Actions to Love Like God
We’ve now seen in God’s word what love is. We know love will never fail us or others, however, how much do we actually SHOW love?
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18 NIV
It’s not enough to just tell people you love them but showing them with our actions along with providing the truth is of most importance. Have you ever had a friend give you a hard truth but you know they’re only telling you because they love you?
We may not always want to hear the hard truths in life but someone who truly loves you will be able to give you those truths in love. They’re looking out for your best interest, just as God looks out for us. His word is the truth, and it shows us who we are in him, so we are able to be who he created us to be.
It may not always feel good at the time, however, it is what makes us a better person in the long run.
Without Love You Are Nothing
While reading about love in the bible I came across a pivotal verse, that I believe sets up the entire meaning of the importance of love.
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. 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.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. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV
To me, this verse is as clear as day in terms of the importance of love and why we need to show love. It says repeatedly without love you are nothing. It starts by saying we can speak in tongues of men or of angels but without love you are nothing. It further says those tongues or utterances are nothing but a gong or a clanging cymbal. Any other words the words you are saying MEAN nothing without love behind them.
You can be the most eloquent speaker, the most knowledgeable person in the world in knowing the word, and you can a faith that can move any mountain. However, without LOVE you are still inevitably nothing. This speaks volumes to me. The word is telling us you absolutely have to show love first in order for anything else to even matter in God’s eyes.
Love Like God By Forgiving Others
We’ve ultimately broken down, what love is, and what the bible says about love. It is great to know what love is according to God’s word, but now we must apply our knowledge and see how we can love like God.
Forgiveness is very essential in producing the love of God. By forgiving others you are showing God’s love and you are releasing your cares and burdens unto God to handle difficult situations.
How many times has God forgiven us for our sins and the times we have hurt him? Without a doubt, more than any of us can count! Gratefully every time we ask for his forgiveness and turn away from our sins, he forgives us!! So we must show that same love towards others.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
In his word, he is showing us, if we don’t forgive others, he will not forgive us. It may not be automatic and it may be a process, but you have to make up in your heart, that you are willing to forgive others so you can be forgiven also.
When you are harboring unforgiveness it can turn into resentment and bitterness, which will ultimately block your blessings God has for you.
I’ve had to forgive people in my heart without them even knowing they’ve done something to me to harm me. The life of peace begins when you don’t hold grudges towards anyone and you can walk in the love that God has put in us.
Loving Your Enemies
Um….are you kidding me? If someone is my enemy why do I need to love them? I don’t even need to like them.
Well my friend, the word of God tells us exactly what to do with those who we may consider our enemy.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:35-36
So why exactly should we love our enemies and do good to those who may have hurt us? Not only because God told us to but also because by doing so we are showing others exactly who we are through God. By doing the opposite of what the world tells us to do, we are showing God’s love!
He also lets us know our reward will be great and we are considered children of the Most High because we are acting like how our Father, (Christ) does toward us.
The world tells people to seek revenge and to do others the way they do you. However, God’s word tells us to be merciful to our enemies and to ultimately love them in spite of what they may have done to us. Our reward will be great!!
Trust me this is no easy task, but just like with unforgiveness, it is something you have to practice. I personally have encountered these feelings. I have prayed for people who have hurt me because I know God will take care of my battles, or he will change their hearts. I’ve prayed for my enemies and believe me when I say, he has shown me the results every time in doing so and being obedient.
It’s not our job to tell people what they are doing wrong or have bitterness toward them. It is our job to love them and allow God to change their hearts or show them their wrongs. When you allow God’s love to work through you, you allow yourself to receive your blessings and the peace of God.
You don’t have to be friends with your enemies, just love them and pray for them.
Love Like God By Sacrificing Yourself
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14 NIV
We are called in this world to be free and to have our freedom. However with, this freedom we aren’t to indulge in our own desires. No, we are to show love to others and serve one another.
It takes sacrificing yourself, to be able to demonstrate God’s love by putting your desires last and serving someone else’s.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13
God’s love can be characterized by making sure other’s are put ahead of self. In this verse, God is showing us there is NO greater love, than laying down yourself for someone else. He says you have to love other’s as you do yourself. This is his command.
Maybe you have a lot of things to do one day, however, you have a friend who is in need of an ear or someone to pray for them. You are to lay yourself down for them. You can do this by putting aside your tasks for this day, and offer an ear, a prayer, a word of godly advice. You never know who’s life you could be changing by putting your desires to the side.
Ultimately, God’s love is so very important and it is IMPERATIVE we show God’s love to others. Some people may not even know God and your actions can determine whether they may want to get to know him or not. The First Lady at my church always says we should be Jesus with a Face.
This is because YOU may be the ONLY God somebody sees.
Are you showing his love today?
What can you do to lay yourself down for someone else and demonstrate God’s love?
How can you start applying God’s love to your daily routine?