Fill in the blank:

  1. “God is _____” – 1 John 4:8
  2. “A new commandment I give to you, that you _____ one another.” – John 13:34

These are foundational statements about who God is, and about what Christians are supposed to be.

In other words, love is a big deal to God. It originated in him. The Father modeled it supremely by offering his own Son for us.

He calls us to imitate him, to practice his kind of extra-mile, overcoming love. When we love others this way, we are faithful imitators of God.

This is a daunting task, but believe it or not, we can do this. Our ability to love is rooted in God’s own love for us. We love him because he first loved us.

We can do it, and God tells us we must do it. Our love for one another makes the gospel compelling; it should be attractional. Every relationships has difficult moments, but churches full of Christians should know the key to overcoming and working through those moments: love. As one author put it, “Love is the oil that keeps the intersecting gears in all relationships from grinding to a halt.” If we practice this kind of love, people will see. The world is looking for the love that only God can supply.

For Christians, love is the chief of all virtues, the sine qua non of the Christian life. And yet, some of us let our heads get in the way of our hearts. We become the people Paul was warning when he said that knowledge “puffs up, but love builds up.”

It’s dangerous for us to have big heads and cold hearts, and it’s not God’s plan for us.

So we’re going to spend a couple weeks looking at God’s definition of love and learning how it should look in our lives.

Also published on Medium.