Learning to love outside of oneself is the crowning achievement of mankind–but, it takes God to do it!
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27
As I was pondering how Christians are to be different than the world, I realized that Christianity has a culture of its own, the culture of God. I began to consider what the culture of God might be. The first passage that came to mind was the Love Chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. In this chapter are the attributes of God which are to be the attributes of His followers, Christians. Let’s look.
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. 2 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. 3 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.
What do these verses tell us about God? God considers love for others above all else:
- Above smooth speech, the ability to sway people, and even leadership;
- Above knowledge, prophecy, and the ability to discern and discover all mysteries, be they spiritual, physical, medical, biological, astrological, or sociological;
- Above sacrifice, even to the point of death.
What kind of love? For the answer to this question, we must consider what Jesus thought to be the greatest commandment(s),
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
The interesting thing is that the teacher of the law gave the best and most succinct commentary on Jesus’ answer than anyone,
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
This kind of love is the self-giving kind, the kind that Jesus demonstrated on the cross for us. The Greek term is AGAPE, which translates,
- Pure, willful, sacrificial love that intentionally desires another’s highest good–Christianity.com
- Goodwill, benevolence and willful delight in the object of love–gotquestions.org
- Selfless, giving, non-emotional [not motivated by emotion] love–logos.com
It is AGAPE love that we are to learn to have, to incorporate, and to foster in others. What does AGAPE love look like? We will discuss that tomorrow.
Abba, Your love for us is all about us, but the best for us. If I were to want that for You, I would want all of Your creation to love you back. It would be the absolute best for everyone. So, that is the desire of my heart, O Lord. May You grant it in Your time (Ephesians 1:9-10). Amen.