How’s your love life?
The Bible commands you in Matthew 22:37-39 to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” God similarly instructs us to “love one another” (I John 4:7, for example). But where does God tell us HOW to love? I grew up in a home in which I did not hear the words I LOVE YOU, and did not feel the loving arms of parents wrapped around me. I grew into adulthood searching for the love I never felt as a child. Without those early examples of love, it isn’t always easy to properly love those God puts into our lives.
We all have different ways of showing love, but through the gospel we see the perfect standard for love. God showed His love to us when He sent His own Son to die on the Cross of Calvary. Romans 5:8 says, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God's love was an active love. Thus, we see that love is an action we choose to give to others. Although love includes intense feelings, emotions, and attitudes, it is also so much more. When we love someone it should be evident not only in the words we say, but also in the attitudes and actions we display toward the person we love. It has truly been said that actions speak louder than words. That is what God is saying in I John 3:18: "My little children, let us love not in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
Our love should flow from our heart to others. When something flows, such as water into a sink, it has a source from which it comes. Our heart should be that source from which our love flows.
As a child I never went to church. When we were married, both my husband and I were lost and without Christ. Shortly after getting married, we went to see a Christian film. This film opened my eyes to the reality of heaven and hell. Although I can’t remember exactly what was said, I know the movie talked about eternal life, a message I had never heard before. I knew, though, that my life was a life of sinful thoughts, words, and actions. A few weeks later the pastor of that church visited our home and shared the gospel with me. I saw myself as God saw me: a sinner (Romans 3:23). I also learned that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners like me (I Timothy 1:15), and that God commended his love toward me while I was still a sinner, by. Christ's dying for me (Romans 5:8). When I understood God’s love for me, how Jesus died, was buried, and rose again the third day FOR ME, I believed on Jesus for salvation and received forgiveness of my sins. In that act, I found not only the love I had been searching for, but also God’s wonderful gift of eternal life. I know now that God had loved me all along. After all, God is love (1 John 4:8). In the years since I received Christ as my Savior, God has allowed me to share His love with hundreds of children, many of whom received God’s gift of love and salvation too.
Once I received His love through Jesus, God's love could flow to others through me. Since my heart became filled with God’s love, I have found it so much easier to show love; I am more patient and not as easily angered with those around me. Now, instead of always thinking about myself, God gives me grace to put others first.
Maybe you have the same problem I had--searching for love and finding it very difficult to love. You see, my heart was full of self and selfish motives. It wasn’t until I allowed God to empty me of those sinful ways and fill me with His love that He became the source of my love. I had to be willing to receive God’s love before I could love others. Receiving God's love comes before loving others. John 3:16 is one verse where God tells us how to receive His love: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
"I can’t love that way," you say. "I’ve never received God’s love and forgiveness." It’s never too late. God is waiting for you to let Him empty your heart of your sinful ways and fill your heart with His love. The stream of God’s love will reach others as it flows through you to others. The words of a beautiful chorus say that “When love shines in, when love shines in, Joy and peace to others bringing-- when love shines in!” What a love life you can have, all because of God’s great love for you. “We love him, because he first loved us” (I John 4:19).
The above article was written by Linda Wasser. She is a member of, and teaches ladies at, NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer her your feedback, comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Have you seen this sermon yet? Pastor Johnson explains more about love and the gospel.