A thought ran through my mind today: How exactly do faith and love intermingle? Just as the verse says we must walk by faith and not by sight, can we love by faith? I came up with 3 central points that relate to love:
1. God loves unconditionally.
2. I am commanded to love others — God, my neighbors, even my enemies.
3. I am incapable of loving others in my own strength, but I can love others with God’s love.
But, as in the case of most sermons on love, something was missing. Love is the greatest thing in the world — the greatest privilege and power known to man. Its emphasis in life and word changed the course of history as the first-century Christians demonstrated a quality of life never before witnessed on this earth.
Greeks, Romans, Gentiles, and Jews hated one another. The very idea of love and self-sacrifice was foreign to them. When they observed Christians from many nations, with different languages and cultures, actually loving one another and sacrificing to help each other, they were amazed.
I challenged myself (and you) to become a part of this revolution of love.
Everybody wants to be loved. Most psychologists agree that man’s greatest need is to love and be loved. No barrier can withstand the mighty force of love.
From past religion classes I’ve taken, I’ve leanred that there are 3 Greek words translated into the one English word “love”; “eros”, which suggests sensual desire — it does not appear in the New Testament; “phileo”, which is used for friendship or love of one’s friends or relatives — it conveys a sense of loving someone because he is worthy of love; and “agape”, which is God’s love: the purest, deepest kind of love — it is expressed not through mere emotions but an act of will.
Agape is God’s supernatural, unconditional love for us revealed supremely through Christ’ on the cross. It is the supernatural love He wants to produce in us and through us to others, by the Holy Spirit. Agape love is given because of the character of the person loving rather than because of the worthiness of the object of that love. It’s a love of “in spite of” rather than “because of.”
Paul writes in the well known passage on love, 1 Corinthians 13, that, apart from love, anything that you might do for God or others is of no value. Consider these words:
If I had the gift of being able to speak in other languages without learning them, and could speak in every language there is in all of heaven and earth, but didn’t love others, I would only be making noise.
If I had the gift of prophecy and knew all about what is going to happen in the future, knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would it do? Even If I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, I would still be worth nothing at all without love.
If I gave everything I have to poor people, and if I were burned alive for preaching the Gospel but didn’t love others, it would be of no value whatever.
I found that, no matter what I try to do to love someone, inside of my own flesh, I can’t do it. There will always be an excuse or a justified reason for some behavior or dislike about a person that will keep me from loving. I find that to love by faith is to believe that through Christ (as with ALL things) I really can love someone else as Christ loves me.
To the KING!