One of the most pressing mysteries we humans face is whether or not to believe that we are loved. We don’t talk about it. We say that we know it, but deep down nearly everyone struggles to trust this elusive emotion. The problem is not with love itself, but with our twisted version of it. As imperfect humans, we have a limited capacity for love and so our understanding is limited as well.
Perhaps the greatest weakness that we all share is not our inability to feel loved, but in our limited ability to love others. And yet, despite these hindrances, we persevere. We find love, from others and for others, in volumes that surpass our own understanding. How can this be, and how can we begin to understand love in a way that leads to trusting relationships? We must remember that we did not invent love, it was given to us. If we can truly understand God’s love for us, then we can begin to know what He intends for us to share with each other.
Here are a few aspects of Love that can help us learn to spot it and to share it.
1. We know that God’s love is sacrificial.
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. He gave up the one thing of greatest value to show His love for us.
God’s love required that He give Himself on our behalf. If we are going to love others with a true love, we must be willing to sacrifice ourselves on their behalf. This does not mean being a doormat to their whims, but rather being willing to put their feelings and well-being first, ahead of our own. In the same way, if someone puts our needs and best interest first, we feel loved.
2. We know that God’s love is unconditional.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God gave what we did not deserve. He did not wait for us to love Him or obey Him before He sacrificed Himself on our behalf – He did so in the midst of our rebellion. This is where love gets real! Am I able to love someone who does not love me back? God does, and through His mercy and grace I am able to learn to do the same. Those who love us, even when we have been unlovely, are those whom we learn to trust and appreciate the most!
3. We know that God’s love is beneficial.
John 10:10 – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. God gave Himself to us so our lives would be better. (here and in eternity) When we experience God’s love, our view of everything changes. Our life takes on a deeper, more purposeful existence and we have a desire to please Him. While our human nature will inevitably hurt even those we care about, love does not show a pattern of hurt without remorse. If we love someone, we want their lives to be better for having us a part of it. In the same way, those who love us enrich our lives and cause us to desire their presence.
4. We know that God’s love is original. It comes straight from the Source.
1 John 4:7-8 – Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. Since God IS love, all sacrificial, unconditional, and beneficial love comes from Him. This is perhaps the most important, albeit most divisive aspect of love. If we can acknowledge that God not only invented love, but reveals, sustains, and upholds love, then we can learn to love as He does. I cannot possess a sacrificial, unconditional, beneficial love apart from experiencing an overwhelming and powerful love in my own life that overflows from me to others. As I live in gratitude for the magnificent love from my Heavenly Father, I am compelled to show that love to others that He places in my life.
Take a moment today to thank God for His unmatchable love and ask Him to fill you with enough to share.