God Doesn’t Just Love
It’s February—the month of hearts and flowers…and love. Brace yourself for articles, blog posts, and memes about love. Pictures of hearts, definitions of ancient Greek words translated to our English word love, and the ever-growing list of tips on how to best show love to others.
We can talk the subject practically to death and still miss the heart of the matter (pun intended). Such a simple word, yet often misunderstood to the point of corrupting its meaning.
We use the word love to describe levels of emotion based on attraction or affection. We express love based on whether the recipient loves us. And we expect those who love us to show their love by prioritizing our happiness. When they don’t, we often move on to new relationships that will fill our emotional bucket and make us happy.
If you were to ask a group of people to describe love, how might they define it? Affection? Adoration? Devotion? Passion? Some may even mention God.
The Bible tells us God loves the world (John 3:16). God loves sweet itty-bitty babies as well as people you and I find unlovable. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). But that’s still not the complete picture.
Yes, God loves us.
But God doesn’t just love, He is love.
God is love (1 John 4:8). Such a simple, yet important, distinction. Because try as we might, we will never be able to truly love others in our own strength. We’ll never be able to give God’s love until we first receive Him and therefore receive His love. How do we do that?
Through faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells every believer. Think about that for a moment. Remember what the apostle John recorded about the Holy Spirit?
“Jesus stood and said in a loud voice . . . ‘Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive” (John 7:37-39).
The Holy Spirit of God—the very nature of love—indwells you and me. A river of unending love, the love we need for ourselves and others, wells up within us. All the love we need to love the most unlovable. And we need never fear the end of this supply.
How convicting this is for me. Convicting because I’m no longer able to excuse my lack of love “because I’m only human.” Convicting because any lack on my part is due to my unwillingness to be a conduit for the love God has already placed in me by His Spirit. And convicting because God’s love is never meant to be hoarded, it is always meant to be shared.
Yet how freeing this also is! The infinite love of God overrides my own weaknesses and limitations, working in and for and through me to love others as I surrender to Him! How might we change our world if we love, not with our love, but with His? Jesus’s disciples turned their world upside down and we can, too!