“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV).
Love is the authentic badge or emblem of a true Christian. It is the greatest of all moral and spiritual virtues.
The Scripture states: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13 NKJV).
Loving people as Christ has loved you is the only incontestable or indisputable evidence, proof, or witness to the world that you are a disciple of Christ.
The Lord Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35 NLT).
For Christians, loving people is much more than having a good feeling, warm affection, fondness or strong liking for people. It is a deliberate choice, a firm decision, a commitment, an obligation or responsibility, and a commandment of God to keep.
The Scripture states in 1 Corinthians 13:
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (NKJV).
Apparently, this is not talking about mere display of emotions but decisive actions!
The Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 NKJV).
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” (Luke 6:27 NKJV).
Every born-again believer has an inherent spiritual capacity to walk in love as the Lord Jesus Christ had walked in love while He dwelt among us in the flesh. How?
Because the believers have become partakers of God’s nature at the New Birth! God’s nature is essentially love; for God is love (2 Pet. 1:4, 1 John 4:8)!
The Scripture testifies:
“No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9 RSV).
If you are truly born of God, you already have God’s nature abiding in you. Love is your new nature in Christ!
The Holy Spirit pours forth or sheds abroad the divine, pure, selfless, sacrificial, steadfast, and unfailing love of God into the hearts of the believers at the point of spiritual regeneration.
Therefore, there is no born-again believer without the spiritual capacity to manifest, evince, or walk in God’s kind of love as Jesus did.
The Scripture states: “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom. 5:5 NKJV).
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8 NKJV).
Having become a partaker of God’s nature (love) you can love the unlovable or hateful people as Jesus did. As commanded by the Lord Jesus, you can “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44 NKJV).
This why the Scripture commands: “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” (Eph. 5:1-2 NKJV).
Why does the Scripture present love to us as the greatest virtue, as the best gift to earnestly desire, as the most excellent way to live, and as the greatest goal to pursue as believers (1 Cor. 12:31, 14:1)?
Let us explore the Scripture to discover some of the Excellencies of love above other spiritual gifts, virtues or graces.
First, God is Love:
Love is not just a virtue that God possesses or expresses, but God is the embodiment of love. God is love personified. God is love!
The Scripture states in 1 John 4:
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (NKJV).
Spiritual gifts are God’s graces and supernatural abilities given to men to effectively carry out or accomplish divine assignments or purposes. But, love is infinitely greater than all supernatural gifts or abilities God has given or bestowed upon men because God is love. Love is who and what God is!
Second, Love is the Fulfillment of the Law:
Love is the sum total of all the commandments of God. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the Law.
The Scripture states: “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal. 5:14 NKJV).
When you are walking in God’s kind of love, you don’t need to be preoccupied with the law, for love sums up all the commandments. Walking in love is simply keeping all God’s commandments (Mark 12:29-31, Jam. 2:8).
The Scripture states in Romans 13:
9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (NKJV).
Third, Love is the Fruit of the Spirit:
Love is the greatest manifestation of the Holy Spirit. It is the primary evidence of being full of the Holy Spirit or walking in the Spirit.
Loving others as Christ has loved you is the undeniable proof that you are indeed a spiritual Christian – one who is filled with the Holy Spirit, submissive or yielding to the Holy Spirit, depending upon the Holy Spirit, and living by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The indisputable proof or evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit is loving people as the Lord Jesus Christ has loved you. Walking in God’s kind of love is the primary expression, result, or fruit of the abiding and working of the Holy Spirit in your heart.
The Scripture states: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23 NKJV).
“No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” (1 John 4:12 NKJV).
You will naturally walk in God’s kind of love if you allow the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, direct and control you. But, when you allow the flesh to rule, dominate, or control you, you will be selfish or self-centered, and full of hatred, bitterness, anger, envy, or jealousy like the unsaved or unregenerate people (Gal. 5:14-17).
Lastly, Love is Eternal:
While supernatural gifts are not eternal, love is eternal – it will never fail, cease or vanish away. Why?
Because love is essentially the nature of God! God is love.
The Scripture states: “Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.” (1 Cor. 13:8 NKJV).
Beloved, possessing and manifesting all the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit in your home, church or community without demonstrating, manifesting or evincing God’s kind of love will profit no one anything. The result will only be chaos, strife, competition, envy, jealously, hatred, bitterness and all kinds of evil.
Whatever spiritual gifting, charisma, or anointing you may possess or evince amounts to nothing and profits nothing when you don’t evince, demonstrate, and walk in God’s kind of love.
Apostle Paul testifies to this truth in 1 Corinthians 13:
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (NKJV).
Paul further admonishes us in Ephesians 5:
1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (NKJV).
Friend, why not arise today and begin to manifest, evince, and walk in God’s kind of love which the Holy Spirit has poured out in your heart and revealed to you in Christ?
Prayer: My Dear Holy Spirit, thank You for pouring into my heart God’s kind of love at the New Birth. Teach and help me daily to manifest, demonstrate and walk in this supernatural love, in Jesus’ name. Amen.