Jesus is the most loving person who has ever lived.
Jesus committed the most loving act the world has ever seen when he died on the cross in place of sinners (Rom. 5:8).
Jesus’ death has abolished the spiritual wall separating us from God (Eph. 2:11–22), and has made it possible for us to enter into the love of God and the church, and experience the very life of the Trinity. Jesus prays that believers throughout history “may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21).
We Love Because Jesus Loves Us
We love others because Jesus loves us (John 13:34–35).
Though the weight of this command can be crushing, we are not asked to carry this burden in our own strength.
The practical implication of being reconciled to God is that we are not only loved, but we are also enabled to love. God the Holy Spirit puts the love of God into our hearts (Rom. 5:5). It is from the wellspring of the Holy Spirit indwelling us that we are enabled to love. As Galatians 5:22 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love.”
God Defines Love
There’s so much talk about love thrown around these days. Thankfully God hasn’t left us to our own devices, but he actually has defined love for us:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away ( 1 Cor. 13:4–8 ).
This is no ordinary type of love. This is a supernatural type of love. Love, as defined by God, is to be among the chief marks of a Christian church. This was made clear by Jesus when he said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
Experiencing God’s Presence through Love
Loving God and others is not just a task we do for the sake of it. Jesus speaks of the reward of a life of love, saying, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).
Those who love God in word, deed, and life will experience the presence of God in a loving intimacy akin to a warm, safe home where a family lives together.
The Emotions and Duty of Love
God commands us to love. With this in mind, we must acknowledge that while love can and should include our emotional feelings, it is not based solely upon them.
Despite our emotions, it is always possible to obey God and love because of the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit who has connected us to the source of all love. We can love even when we do not feel loving. This is why the Bible likens love to a fruit of the Spirit’s work in our lives (Gal. 5:22–23; Rom. 5:5; 2 Tim. 1:7).
I encourage you to trust in Jesus and continually ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so that he will grow and bear the fruit of love in your life (Eph. 5:18). He will enable you to love God and others.
This post is adapted from Vintage Church (192–195) by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Crossway Books , a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187.