There is no greater peace that we can have than knowing the love of God. There is no greater joy that we can have than bringing His love to others.
Because “God is love,” His love is the highest expression of who He is. When we abide in His love we attain the highest realization of what we were created for—to receive His love and to carry it to others.
The “greatest commandment” is to love God. The second greatest is to love one another. Therefore, the measure of a successful human life will be by how much we love Him, and then by how much we love others.
Some say that love is not an emotion. Consider this: how would you feel if your spouse said that they did not feel anything for you, but they loved you by faith? God created emotions because we need them to experience His love and to show love to others. Love is not only an emotion; it is the highest emotion.
Even so, love is more than an emotion. Love is not just a noun, but it is also an action verb. Love that is also does. Love is such a powerful emotion that it cannot be contained, but must be expressed.
Heidi Baker says, “Love looks like something.” This being said, actions without love do not raise us up, but lower us. As the apostle Paul wrote:
“If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2-3)
Love without works is not real, but works without love do not count. This is why the exhortations in Scripture to care for the poor, the needy, and the oppressed are always to individuals, not governments and organizations. Charity that is institutionalized is dehumanizing. Love and charity are meant to be expressed person to person.
This is not to say that organizations and governments cannot do good, but if these good deeds are done just to keep score on how much they are doing, even the recipients of their charity will start to despise those organizations, even if they need them. When charities are filled with truly loving people there is a difference. For this reason, we are told in 1 Timothy 1:5: “…The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Keeping Our Love for God First
If we do not keep the love for God first, our love for others will be corrupted. When we start to esteem the love for others above our love for God, our love and our works will become idols. Then they result in self-centeredness, becoming possessive, and the opposite of true love that gives. Keeping our love for God first purifies our love for others.
Our goal must be to see with the Lord’s eyes. He does not just see people as they are, but as they are called to be. His words and actions that express His love edify and call us higher. When something is hindering us from growing into what we are called to be, such as sin, love confronts and brings correction, but in a redemptive way for our good.
For this reason, we are told in Hebrews 12:6, “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines…” Strong discipline in love gives life, and keeps us on the path of life. Love is the oxygen of the Spirit, so in all things we must pursue growing in our love for God, and thereby our love for one another.
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