For as long as I can remember 'love' did not compute for me. Something to be afraid of, with suggestions of control and manipulation.

Then I realised from 1 Corinthians 13 that 'love' is something I can do...

  • Love is patient
  • Love is kind
  • Love does not envy
  • Love does not boast
  • Love is not proud
  • Love does not belittle
  • Love is not self seeking
  • Love is not easily angered
  • Love keeps no record of wrongs
  • Love does not delight in evil
  • Love rejoices with the truth
  • Love protects
  • Love trusts
  • Love hopes
  • Love perseveres
  • Love never fails

 In Mark 12:31 Jesus tells us to love our neighbour as ourselves. It was an eye opener for me to realise that my own life needed to be sorted out first. Luke 6:45 expounds on that - my external good or bad comes from what is in my heart. The solution is found in Mark 12:30 - loving God with everything I have.

That still leaves the question 'how?'. God Himself provides the solution Ezekiel 36:25-27 ... 'I will put my Spirit within you ...'. We can see examples of this being outworked in the book of Acts and many modern examples. God changes people into being lovers!

The Apostle John described himself as 'the disciple who Jesus loved'. Why? He does not mean that Jesus did not love the others. Was it something in John's background that enabled him to grasp the love of God in a way the others did not? In 1 John 4:8 he declares 'God is love'. Love does not define God. God defines love.

Replacing the word 'love' with 'God' in 1 Corinthians 13 (see What to Pray 8 - Your Name) we can see that Paul is describing what God does, whereas John describes who God is.

James brings both the 'being' and the 'doing' together saying 'Faith without works is Dead' James 2:14-26.

In John 3:16 we read 'God loved ... God gave'.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

In 1 John 3:16 he expands on this 'This is how we know what love is...'.