By Rodney W. Francis
Loving people is crucial if we are going to live a victorious Christian life! We measure our love for God by how much we love one another! Loving one another means we have to build genuine, open and honest relationships with our Christian brothers and sisters. It is by our love for one another that all people will know that we are Jesus’ disciples (John 13:34-35). This is the teaching of Jesus and He is the Truth.
In this little article, let me remind you again of the meaning and importance of love in our day-to-day relationships with people. It is the Jesus way for us to genuinely love one another.
What Does Bible Love Mean?
The King James Bible uses the word “charity” for love. It comes from the Greek word “agape” (noun) and “agapao” (verb), which means “Love, love that is self-denying and compassionately devoted to its object; love in its fullest conceivable form . . . towards God, the brethren and all”(Bullinger’s).
“Agape” is translated as: Charity (27 times), Feast of charity (1), Love (86), Charitably (1) (Young’s Concordance); Love, i.e. affection or benevolence; specially a love feast or feast of charity(Strong’s). “Agapao” is translated as: Love (135 times), Beloved (7) (Young’s Concordance); To love (in a social or moral sense), Be loved (Strong’s).
It is a Love that is self-denying: “the denial or sacrifice of one’s own desires” (Collins English Dictionary). It is a Love that is compassionately devoted: “showing or having compassion.” Compassion is: “a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it” (Collins English Dictionary). The word “devoted” means: “1. feeling or demonstrating loyalty or devotion; ardent; devout. 2. set apart, dedicated, or consecrated”(Collins English Dictionary). It is Love in its fullest conceivable form: “capable of being fully understood, believed, or imagined; possible” (Collins English Dictionary).
1 Corinthians 13 ~ We can have the Spiritual Gifts, speak with the tongues of men and angels, prophesy, understand all mysteries and all knowledge to the point of removing mountains – yet still not love! It makes us NOTHING! (present tense). Please read whole chapter.
JESUS LOVES US! And He has commanded us to love one another . . .
Ephesians 5:22-33 ~ Husbands are to love their wives as Christ Jesus loves the Church.
The saddest decision ever made by the rich young ruler was to spurn the full focus of Jesus’ love toward him ~ and he turned away, because his riches and possessions meant more to him. How tragic is that? Let it not be said about you or me. Consider the Scripture: Mark 10:17-22 ~ “Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.’ But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
John 13:34–35 ~ When we Christians truly love one another ~ as Jesus loves us ~ the whole world will know we are Jesus’ disciples! If Jesus said that, then it is possible for us to love like He did!
1 John 3:1–3 ~ God’s love actively working in us has a purifying affect upon us. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”
1 John 3:14–16 ~ We are taught to lay down our lives for the brethren. “We know we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death . . . By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Notice that it does not say that we lay down our life for Jesus, but for our brothers and sisters. There is a big difference between laying down our life for Jesus and that of our brethren!
Some sobering statements on Love:
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also”(1 John 4:18-21).
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:1-5). Scripture quotes from New King James Version.
In the light of the above very few selected verses from Scripture: