“God is Love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16b)
The word and concept of love may arouse a range of thoughts in a person’s mind but not all may equate with the way in which the Bible defines love. Since love, as used in the Bible regarding God, has its roots in the Divine Nature we will discover its meaning from God’s Word, the Bible.
It has pleased God to reveal His own Divine Nature to us throughout the Bible. It is a most holy and enjoyable exercise to meditate on the many passages that do this. For example, every commandment is a revelation of God’s nature because it is in accord with His nature. Anything contrary is not of Him. When He commands us not to break our covenants, vows and promises it is because He does not. He is faithful to His Word in spirit and to the letter.
With this in mind let us turn to that most descriptive passage concerning love. We all know it. It is read at so many weddings with the hope that the love-struck couple may actually live it. Without Christ that hope is but forlorn wishful thinking but all things are possible in Christ.
Why don’t you read 1Corinthians 13:4 as a description of God and then again more personally as a description of Jesus Christ? Perhaps even substituting the word “love” with “God” or “Jesus” might be helpful to you.
“Love suffers long and is kind;
Love does not envy;
Love does not parade itself, it is not puffed up;
[Love] does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
[Love] does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth;
[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.”
Not only is this a description of the nature of the Lord Jesus it is also what we all shall be eternally when we see Him face to face. It is also a description of what we are now in Christ and may experience when we allow Him to fill us with the Holy Spirit.
Any attempt to manufacture this kind of love of ourselves will always fail and lead to discouragement. Only when we realise that Christ in us can love in this way will it be possible. It is always a sad thing when Christians try to imitate the nature of Jesus Christ through carnal means. They may believe they are achieving their goal and take pride in it but that pride or pleasure in self effort tells the fakery of it.
The jeweller knows the true diamond from cut glass because he has seen and handled the true diamond many times. The person who has only seen cut glass will not know what he is missing out on. Likewise the one who has experienced Christ loving through them to others will recognise the imitation and find no pleasure in it.
As John wrote in his letter, when we see the evidence of this love coming through ourselves toward others or in the lives of others we can rejoice. It is evidence that God Himself has taken up residence in that person.