Psalm 36:7 (NIV) – “How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!…”
Awesome and powerful, God in His genius created the universe, from the most distant quasar to the smallest atom. Among the greatest of God’s creations and qualities is love. The wisdom, might, and knowledge of God are unparalleled, matched only by the magnitude and intensity of His love. Jesus, our Lord and Savior, is identified by His enormous capacity to love (Psalms 117:2; Psalms 57:10; Ephesians 2:4, 5). God’s love is boundless, allowing Him to forgive and eradicate the sins of humankind. According to John 3:16 (NIV) “…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.” Jesus paid the price for our sins with the sacrifice of His life on the cross, thus purchasing for all who believe in Him, eternal life and reconciliation with God as beloved children. As 1 John 3 (NIV) proclaims, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
Just as love defines the very nature of Jesus (1 John 4:16; 1 John 4:8), Christians are called to “follow God’s example… as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love” (Ephesians 5:1, 2 – NIV). Despite our weaknesses and imperfection, we are called to exemplify love in our thoughts, speech, and behavior, to be unselfish, giving, and to focus on the service and needs of others. 1 John 4:11-13 states that, “…since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another… if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of his Spirit.” To live up to this calling to express great love like that of God, we will need His divine, supernatural power and guidance.
From God’s own example, we learn that “love must be sincere” (Romans 12:9, 1 Peter 1:22 – NIV). Love is not some dry, theoretical exercise, but something living and empowering that we should express everyday “with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18 – NIV). The Bible gives us a detailed explanation of what expressing godly love entails in practical terms. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV) tells us that “love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs… It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Colossians 3:11-13 (NIV) affirms, that we must manifest the love of God by showing “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” The love of God has incredible restorative powers, which can enable us to overcome the hurt that others may have caused us, so that we can truly extend forgiveness to them and mend fractured relationships. Admittedly, it can be challenging sometimes to approach others from a place of love, when we are met with unkindness or unfriendliness. Those are the times when we have to ask God’s Holy Spirit to fill us, and rely on Him for guidance on how to turn those moments of discomfort into opportunities to build connections with others. The love of God is a bond that unifies all children of God, and is more formidable than race, class, culture, and anything that divisively fragments the human family. Love should be the hallmark of all Christians, the foremost characteristic that distinguishes us as children of God. As Christians, we are the representatives of God, and each day we have the responsibility and privilege of giving those around us a living depiction of God’s great love in action.