Jesus spoke often of love through patience, forgiveness, selflessness and understanding. He shared with people how to LOVE through parables such as the prodigal son, who despite his shortcomings the father still took him back, forgave and loved him. He showed how the Pharisees, despite their attempts at keeping their laws that without LOVE, all their attempts at self-justification meant nothing to God.
Paul wrote to the church of Corinth, and warned them about becoming self-absorb in the demonstration of the gifts and forgetting the most important thing; LOVE. He went as far as to say that you can speak in tongues, but if you don’t have LOVE it means nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
The world’s concept of LOVE is contractual rather than covenantal; this is not God’s concept of LOVE. Loving contractually means that you LOVE as long as the other participant is holding up their end of the contract. This often is based on emotions, and how the other person makes you feel. Keep in mind that emotions (motion) are always in flux; they are unstable and untrustworthy. In reality this isn’t love; this is selfishness.
We often worship contractually. If the right song is offered up, if the right beat is right, if God expresses Himself enough in the church service and we feel the right tingle, then we will express our love for Him through praise and worship.
We love our spouses contractually: if they are doing what we want, if they aren’t upsetting us, or if they are keeping us happy.
In truth, LOVE is covenantal and isn’t supposed to be an event based on emotions. This means we love, not out of emotion or because somebody is maintaining our happiness, but we LOVE unconditional, no matter how we feel or whether or not the other person is maintaining our happiness.
When we worship, we should worship not out of an emotional response to music, or based on the level of blessing that God is pouring out, but out of love for our savior. We don’t worship Jesus because we need to feel enough Holy Ghost power on Sunday to have enough faith to make it through the next 6 days until the next Sunday service (the Bible never says we need more faith, just the right kind of faith). When we worship, we worship out of faith and love for Jesus.
When we love our spouses, we should love them on the good days and bad days. This means if our spouse is being grouchy, we don’t do less for them, nor do we return emotion for emotion, but we LOVE them in spite of their faults. We LOVE our spouse out of covenant because it is whom God has given us to spend the rest of our lives with. We LOVE our spouse for who God is making them and us to be. Just as God is patient with us in our Christian walk and is patients with us as we grow, so should our LOVE be for our spouse.
I heard an awesome message a while back on learning to LOVE as Jesus loves us, unconditionally, in covenant for our spouses, and it changed the way I treated my wife and how I saw her. We started loving each other no matter how we were feeling or how we made each other feel. Our relationship began to change, we grew closer, and we were happier together because we knew that even when we weren’t at our best, we were going to love each other no matter what.
Jesus came to give us life, hope, and love. He came to show us how to love, by being love and entering in to a covenant of grace for us to cover us despite our imperfections. He asked us to LOVE, as He loves, unconditionally, rather than conditionally through law or contract.
I read a story the other day on Facebook of a young Christian woman who saw a little girl who was constantly being beaten by her mother. The initial reaction of the readers was to condemn the mother, call the authorities and have the daughter taken away. Legally, unless the little girl was willing to have the courage to step out against her mother and leave her home, there was nothing the authorities could do without proof.
Lets ask these questions instead: What about the mother? Why was she filled with anger, hate and violence? What was going on in the lives of that family that it was so violent? Would Jesus have opted to condemn the mother and break up the family or would He have reached out to them and loved them?
The young girl decided to LOVE them, and show them Christ’s LOVE through her, and realized that it is the devil who wants to us destroy, hate, judge and feel despair. Jesus came to bring life, LOVE, heal and build up. I would encourage that the next time we jump to judge, we instead LOVE, take the time to pray and see how we can help build lives instead of destroying them. Let us learn to have faith that Jesus can work it out.
LOVE more, judge less, and let Jesus do the rest.