We have all heard of I Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter, but today I want to see HOW God loves us, what His definition of love is, how Jesus demonstrated love, and His expectation of how we should love each other. I want us to have our capacity to love enlarged supernaturally!
God has opened up and revealed His love to me in such a large measure these past few months. He has birthed an even greater love for others, and my heart has been enlarged for the care of others. My cry has been to accurately reveal and display His heart. Having a heart of compassion for others like the Father has for us.
My heart for you is that the Father would reveal His great love for YOU and that you would have your heart enlarged and transformed by His love and by the very virtue of His pouring of His love on you, you would in turn pour His love on others.
That being stated maybe you recognize yourself in the following paragraphs. I think we can all see ourselves somewhere in there. Let me ask you some questions, not to bring condemnation, but in an effort to be real. By asking ourselves questions, we assess where we are at and we discover our need.
- Have you been frustrated by the actions, attitudes or condition of someone?
- How do we function from a position of love without getting frustrated with them and ourselves?
- What do we require of others? What do I require of myself? Is it the same?
- What does it mean to have compassion?
- What does it mean to love?
- What does love look like?
I was listening to some teaching on healing recently and the speaker used an illustration that twigged with me and caused me to examine how I function.
This gentlemen moves in healing, it is his assignment and he has seen thousands healed. He liked to watch a particular TV show – he liked the unorthodox character who thought outside the box. But one day the Lord told him to stop watching that TV show. He did not understand why. He asked the Lord why, and the Lord told him that it would begin to effect his healing assignment. He soon found this to be true, because instead of looking at people with a heart of compassion, he looked at their sickness and illness with a more analytical and critical eye. He would think, that maybe they needed to change what they were eating or maybe that they needed more exercise. The knowledge that he had gained from this show caused him to loose his compassion. He had to refocus and bring that area of his thoughts back into subjection. He had to be, move and live in the position of compassion.
This began to germinate inside me; what things, thoughts and ideas have robbed me of my compassion? What things have moved me from my position of compassion? It’s like a compass that is slightly off, you won’t be effective, you will be frustrated, irritated, you won’t hit the target, you will be doing all the work but the joy won’t be there. We must re-calculate our route! Get our compass reading correctly.
We live with people, work with people, play with people, we rub elbows with them, we fight with them, argue with them, disagree with them, we are irritated with them, frustrated by them…………………….we could come to believe that THEY are the problem! But we are going to have to continue to live with them, work with them……..so how do I not allow them to frustrate me? There are many things that we can do, but I think the first and foremost is compassion. Compassion and love will transform and change OUR thoughts and feelings!
I think for us to fully understand HOW to love each other, we must see HOW the Father has loved us.
For many, this is head knowledge, we know that He loves us because the Bible tells us so, but it hasn’t become heart knowledge where we KNOW He loves us. I want to spend some time looking at His love for us, and then how He models His expectations for us in how we should love others.
What is Love?
When you think of the word love, what comes to mind? How would you define love? We all have pictures and ideas of what love looks like, but I think the best description of love comes from the Bible. Paul clearly describes what love looks like. He paints a beautiful picture for to help us understand.
Let’s break I Corinthians 13:4-8 down.
- Love suffers long. It does not loose heart, it patiently bears the offences and injuries of others. Love bravely endures misfortunes and troubles. Love is patient.
- Love is kind. Love is mild and pleasant in character, it is not harsh, sharp or bitter.
- Love does not envy. It doesn’t boil with envy, hatred or anger.
- Love does not boastful. It is not a braggart. It will promote others and loves to see others succeed. It doesn’t need credit for what it has done.
- Love is not puffed up. It is not proud and doesn’t inflate itself. Love is humble.
- Love does not act unbecomingly. It is not ill mannered, it is not rude.
- Love does not seek its seek its own. Love doesn’t insist on its own way. It is willing to lay down its own rights for the benefit of others. It looks for ways to benefit other people, it is more concerned about the state of the other person.
- Love is not easily provoked. Love does not get easily irritated, it is not easily exasperated.
- Love thinks no evil. It is not destructive or injurious in its thinking. It does not think worthless thoughts.
- Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness. Love acts against injustice. It doesn’t rejoice at the failings or fallings of another, but love causes us to be stirred to help them succeed.
- Love rejoices in truth. Love stands in opposition to unrighteousness and what is wrong. Truth is celebrated and held up as the standard. Love will not lie.
- Love bares all things. Love covers with silence. It does not expose people’s faults.
- Love believes all things. Love has faith to believe and to trust.
- Love hopes all things. Love expects, it has an expectation.
- Love endures all things. Love remains and doesn’t pull back. It preserves under misfortunes and trials, holding fast to our faith in Christ.
- Love never fails. It is not powerless, there is power in love. It moves things, changes things. When love is enacted it always brings a result.
We have been given a great description of what love looks like. But God doesn’t want this to be just in our heads, He wants it in our hearts. When it remains in our heads and does not flow from our hearts, it becomes something that we know, but we do not function in. We say, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah……’ but there is very little do, do, do……
O How He Loves Us!
For us to fully understand love, we must look at God and how He loves. When we read First John, it says that God IS love. Love is one of God’s attributes; it is part of WHO He is. He cannot function outside of His love; He cannot do anything that is contrary to His nature.
I John 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 knows us not, because it knew him not.
His love is extravagant! His love for us is of the highest quality. I love how Wuest puts it, exotic love – love that is foreign to the human heart. We don’t easily understand it. His love is permanent; it does not change! Oh, how I wish you would grasp and understand this! He LOVES YOU! It is not dependent upon what you do or don’t do! He LOVES YOU! We are not worthy of it, we have done nothing to deserve it, and yet He loves us! Settle in your heart – HE LOVES ME!
If this is something that you struggle with, or maybe as you were reading the above statement, you thought, ‘…..but….’. I want you to stop right here and ask Him to show you His love.
Ephesians 2:4-5 gives us another picture of how He loves us.
Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
I love how the Amplified Bible states it, ‘because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us.’ His love motivated Him, it drove Him to give His life for us, it is what propelled Him to the cross. His love required an action from Him; He could not sit passively by and do nothing. It drove Him and propelled Him to the cross. It is important to note that He did ALL of this while we were sinners!
God loves YOU! He wants you to EXPERIENCE His love, He doesn’t want His love to just be head knowledge. He wants you to feel and experience it everyday. He wants you to live in His love.
Take a few moments today, and ask the Father to demonstrate His love towards you. Ask Him to show you HOW much He loves you. Then sit for a few minutes and receive His love.