What's Love Got to Do With It?
"And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matthew 22:37-39, ESV).
Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 22:39: "And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself," (ESV). It matters to God that I love my neighbor as myself as much as it matters to Him that I love Him with all my heart, soul, and mind.
With that in mind consider the following verses from I John chapter 4.
I John 4:7-8 says, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love.
Points to Ponder:
God is love, so love comes from God.
We are to love one another because love came from God and we came from God.
Our love for one another is evidence of our knowledge of God.
Our lack of love for one another indicates our lack of knowledge of God.
I John 4:9-10 says, "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins," (ESV).
Point to Ponder:
God's love for us is revealed to us through Jesus.
I John 4:11-13 says, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and him in us, because he has given us of his Spirit," (ESV).
Points to Ponder:
God loves us; therefore, we must love one another.
Evidence of God is made visible through our love for one another.
God's love is perfected in us when He abides in us.
We know God's Spirit abides in us and us in Him when God's love is evident in us.
I John 4:19-21 says, "We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother," (ESV).
Points to Ponder:
God loves us first; therefore, we should love others.
You cannot separate love for God and love for others.
You cannot love God if you cannot love others.
Now consider this: Jesus said in John 13:35, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another," (ESV). When we love others, we show others our love for God—we point others to Him.
I can claim to be a lot of important things, but if I don't love my neighbor as myself, then I am really nothing. I Corinthians 13:1-3 says "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 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. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing," (ESV).
Since loving others is obviously very important, we should understand what it means to love others. I Corinthians 13:4-8 tells us what love looks like: "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends," (ESV). Loving my neighbor is more than saying the words, "I love you." It means putting my neighbor before myself.
We humans are limited by selfish and conditional love, so we are incapable on our own of loving this way. In light of this truth, how do we do what we cannot do? We love others the same way we love God—through the help of the Holy Spirit. We've recognized in other areas of our lives how God helps us in our weakness. The same is true with love. As has been referenced above in I John 4:12, when God's Spirit is in us, His love is perfected in us. His Spirit teaches us how and then empowers us to love with love like I Corinthians 13:4-8. God works the impossible in us by His Spirit, which is actually the point of having His Spirit in us.
Some may get tired of me saying it, but I won't stop. These are the two most important commandments God gave us—love God; love others. Every other commandment given is rooted in loving God and loving others. Read them to see for yourself.
So, what's love got to do with it? Well, it appears love has everything to do with everything!