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God’s Love & Your Love

While we all seek to give and receive love 365 days a year, there is ONE BIG  Day each each we celebrate love: Valentine’s!  We are currently teaching through the bible on LOVE in our Living Love-Wise Community weekly Zoom Bible study, and in Pam’s most recent book: Discovering Good News In John: A Creative Bible Study Experience, Pam shares about the names of Christ in the book of John. May you gain a glimpse of God’s love sent from heaven to your heart and home!

Jesus is Love

Christ didn’t call himself love, but he SHOWED himself to be love:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ESV)

God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. (1John 4:9HCBV)

and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 HCBV)

This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. (1 John 3:16)

And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. (Ephesians5:2 HCBV)

 Christ Calls Us to Love

You might wonder, “What can I do to bring hope, help, and healing? I am just one person; we are just one family.”

Jesus gives us a clear place to begin. Receive God’s love and become a conduit of love to everyone one in your world:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  (John 13:34 emphasis added) 

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.  (Romans 12:10) 

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  (1 John 4:11)

In the New International Version Bible, love is mentioned 551 times, so obviously love is vital.

1 John4:7 says, “love is from God…”

1 John 4:16 proclaims, “God is love”.

What Does Love Look Like?

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. . .( 1 Cor. 13:4-8)

In the Devotional Study Guide for Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, we explainThe way to a more loving relationship is to be more loving yourself! So, let’s look at what goes into love (from a glimpse of word meaning from its original Greek):

Patience: Long passion, willing to wait

Kindness: Gentle in behavior

Does not envy: Does not boil over in relationships

Isn’t boastful: Does not play the part of a bragger 

Not proud: Does not puff oneself up like a bellows

Not rude: not indecent

Not self-seeking: Does not seek their own interests

Not easily angered: Is not easily irritated and avoids sharpness of spirit

Doesn’t keep track of wrongs: Does not record in a ledger book a list of offenses

Does not rejoice in evil: Finds no joy in the triumph of evil

Rejoices in the truth: Finds joy in all things truthful

Protects: Covers like a roof

Trusts: Has faith in people without being gullible

Hopes: Sees the bright side of things, does not despair

Perseveres: Carries on like a stout-hearted soldier

Love Never Fails: Love survives”  

Wouldn’t the world be a much better place is each of us loved more like this?

What Does Toxic Anti-Love Look Like?

Choosing to love can feel like an uphill climb. If each of us does not deliberately choose to take the high road of love, we can easily slip into toxic behaviors in relationships. When I was writing 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman, I was looking for a way to capture what toxic looked like, I thought, “Satan loves to twist God’s Word (like the half truths he fed Adam and Eve in the garden, and the trickery he tried to use to tempt Jesus in the dessert).  I paraphrased 1 Cor 13 inside-out to better identify toxic behaviors:

Toxic is impatient and unkind. Toxic is always envious and jealous. Toxic boasts and is self-glorifying. Toxic is arrogant and proud, self-centered, and rude. Toxic easily loses its temper and keeps track of all offenses and holds a grudge. Toxic is thrilled when people look and feel stupid. Toxic loves a mistake because she can tell everyone of the error and replay it over and over. Toxic runs to evil, never protects others, and gives up on people and life easily.

Jesus said “ So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” (Matthew 7:12 NIV)  But a toxic mindset would poison the Golden Rule and turn it into, Do unto others before they do it to you. Exploit others before they exploit you. And the toxic person would scoff at Jesus’ example of sacrificing for others. Instead, toxic people tend to sacrifice others for their own benefit or entertainment.

Will You Love Like Jesus?

Since you cannot control circumstances or others, but you CAN control your own thoughts, choices and behaviors, which traits of love from 1 Cor 13, do you want to ask God to help strengthen  in you?

Pam and Bill Farrel are authors of 59 books including bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti (and DVD set) ; Red Hot Monogamy; and 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make. Pam has also written two for wives: 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband: Put a Smile On His Face and Red Hot Romance Tips for Women.

Download a gift from the Farrels: 100 Fun, Fantastic and Free Romance Ideas

The Farrels have been happily married 43 years and make their home on a live aboard boat docked in Southern California. Join the Living Love-Wise Community  

Adapted from Discovering Good News In John: A Creative Bible Study Experience, (Harvest House) co-authored with Pam Farrel, Jean E Jones, and Karla Dornacher.

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