The world is full of people, books, and songs that extol the preeminence of love. Everyone agrees that love is important. Why then, is there such anger, hurt, conflict, and isolation? Because love is more than just feelings and words—it is actions (1 John 3:18). Consider these practical terms of what it actually means to love (from the excellent book Broken Down House—Living Productively in a World Gone Bad ):
- Love means being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others (Galatians 6:2).
- Love means resisting the temptation to be judgmental, self-righteous, and critical (Matthew 7:1-4).
- Love means being willing to live with an open home (Romans 12:13).
- Love means being willing to take on big things, even as you humbly admit your limits (2 Corinthians 3:4-5).
- Love means being willing to be misunderstood and mistreated as you follow Christ’s example of love (Matthew 10:24-25).
- Love means overlooking minor offenses and forgive so as not to become bitter (Colossians 3:13).
- Love means being willing to have your schedule and plans interrupted or altered (Philippians 2:3)
- Love means being open to correction, loving criticism, and godly rebuke (Revelation 3:19).
- Love means overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:21).
- Love means making life decisions out of Christ’s inescapable command to love (1 Corinthians 16:14).
And then the author concludes with these words: “Someone near you right now has lost his way. Someone near you is overwhelmed. Someone near you is being tempted to step off God’s pathway. Someone near you is doubting God’s presence and love. The God who is love now lives inside you, enabling you to love as you have been loved. He has chosen you to be one of his ambassadors, incarnating his love in the lives of those he has placed you near. Open your eyes and your heart and offer to others what you have been given. There is no better way to live in this fallen world.”
By God’s grace, may we live in the power and joy of his love.