What is Love and why should I challenge myself to become a more loving person?
Narrowing down a precise definition of love can be difficult, given the facts that 1) It depends on the context. 2) There are several forms of love. The concept of love is very complex, yet simple. The apostle John wrote, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8). If we want to have a complete and proper understanding of real love, we first must look to God. John said, “God is love.” When it comes to love, God sets the standard.
The Love of God
God’s love is not an emotional response to beauty, merit, or kindness, but a moral attitude dedicated to the good of others, whether or not they are lovable, worthy, or responsive. There are two key passages of Scripture that provide good insight into this kind of love (Deuteronomy 7:7-9; Romans 5:6-11).
God’s love does not change: Throughout Israel’s rebellion and exile it persisted with infinite patience, neither condoning their evil nor abandoning the evildoers. Within God’s love dwells kindness, tenderness, and compassion (Ps 86:15; 103:1–18; 136; Hos 11:1–4), but its chief characteristic is an accepted moral obligation for another’s welfare, which no ill-will or unsatisfactory circumstances will quench.
Called to Love Like God
There several words in the Greek for love: “eros (a sexual love) does not occur in the N.T. phileō, spontaneous natural affection, with more feeling than reason, occurs some 25 times, with philadelphia (brotherly love) 5 times, and philia (friendship) only in James 4:4; storgē, natural affection between kinfolk, appears occasionally in compounds. By far the most frequent word is agapē, generally assumed to mean moral goodwill which proceeds from esteem, principle, or duty, rather than attraction or charm. Agapē means to love the undeserving, despite disappointment and rejection.” -White, R. E. O. (1988). Love. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 1357). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Agapē is God’s Love—it is exactly the kind of love that all Christians are called to have and display (Eph 5:1-2; 1 Cor 16:14). It takes great courage, humility and faith to have this kind of love.
This kind of love is so important, so great that through it, salvation and hope were brought to an undeserving world (John 3:16).
This is the love that is desperately needed (right now) in our homes, communities, Country and beyond! Both lives and souls can be forever changed for the better, by this kind of love.
Will you challenge yourself to become more loving like God?
CHALLENGING MYSELF TO BECOME MORE LOVING, THE WAY GOD LOVES.
Select one or more of the following Self-Challenges below.
Based upon God’s concept of love, I challenge myself to my spouse Agapē my spouse. Regardless of his or her actions or inactions, I will willingly commit myself to Agapē my spouse with the same attitude of God the father (Rom 5:6-11). I will strive to be involved in my marriage relationship as deeply as possible in four distinct ways: physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.
I will constantly seek ways to encourage my spouse and reassure him/ her of my unwavering commitment to his/ her wellbeing—spiritually, emotionally, and socially (Philippians 2:1-8).
Write a sincere heartfelt letter to someone you’ve had issues with—it could be a coworker, neighbor, or a difficult family member. Out of Agapē for their soul, seek to end the feud and make peace (Rom 12:17,18).
“Imagine standing at the height of all the earth and seeing the depth of human poverty and suffering.” (Because We Are Called to Counter Culture: In a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Persecution, Abortion, Orphans, and Pornography, By David Platt). When Jesus walked the earth in the flesh, He constantly came in contact with individuals like this. And although it wasn’t His mission to change everyone’s unfortunate circumstances, He certainly helped many. So can we, if we share in His compassion. Out of Jesus’ same Agapē for others, I will not merely contemplate the Word of God in the world around me; I will challenge myself to do what it says (see James 1:22-25).