The Big Three
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Corinthians 13:13
Over the past two weeks we have explored how faith and hope will last forever. Now we get to consider the last and greatest of these eternal qualities: love.
All you need is love, right?
Love…is it the feeling you get when you are with your family? Is it the relationships that are depicted in romantic comedies? Is love a feeling, a choice, or both?
Our culture talks about love a lot, but the definition of love is a bit confused. After all, I can say that I love my phone and that I also love my wife…but surely I do not love them in the same way!
When exploring love, we need a careful definition.
The apostle John shares a beautiful passage about the defining characteristics of love.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
-1 John 4:7
Let’s take a look at each part of this verse in order to understand the biblical definition of love.
Beloved: literally one who is loved. This is addressed to you! You are the one who is loved. This is your primary identity.
Let us love one another: Love is to be shared. Love is to be freely given to others in the form of intentional acts, sweet compliments, a hug or a smile. Love is outward facing, not inward.
For love is from God: God is the source of our love. When you share love with others, you are spreading the love of God. Love is not created from within us as individuals. Love is created from being connected to the source of love (i.e. God!)
Whoever loves has been born of God and knows God: You know how your kids might look like you and/or act like you? You share a family resemblance. In the same way, we are children of God. And the more loving we are, the more we will resemble our heavenly father.
A little bit later John makes a profound statement: God is love.
Love is the very essence of God.
A beautiful secret of faith is that the more connected you become with God, the more loving you will be. God is love in the most perfect sense of the word. When you spend time with the source of all love, you will be naturally changed by its goodness.
Those who spend time with God will be the most loving people in the world.
Beloved, unite yourself with the God of love. May God’s love flow through you into the world.
This Sunday we will continue our GO series as we explore Paul and Barnabas’s missionary journey.
See you on Sunday!