What comes to your mind when you think of true love? Perhaps it is a strong and lasting affection, a happy, passionate, and fulfilling relationship. Maybe it is something you consider pure, positive, and not just based on feelings of lust. It includes respect, admiration, care, and never wanting to hurt the object of your love. True love has a deep bond that is based on commitment, respect, trust, and acceptance. In addition, it is caring about the health and well-being of another to a greater degree than your own.
There are many definitions of true love, but we can only find true love that never fails and is perfect in God because God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). In the New Testament, the Greek language separates the word love into four different categories: 1) Eros which is erotic, passionate love. 2) Phileo is the love of friends or brotherly love, 3) Storge is the love of parents for children, and 4) Agape, which refers to God’s love for us and our reciprocal love for God and others (1 John 4:19).
God’s love is unselfish, unconditional, unfailing, eternal, and is the highest form of love (Psalm 36:7; 136:26). He wants the best for you. Because of God’s agape love, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to reconcile us and redeem us (John 3:16, 15:13; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10).
But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in mercy and truth. Psalm 86:15
The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, with lovingkindness, I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3
Through the LORD’s mercies, we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22 – 23
“Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9
There is no greater love than our Heavenly Father has for us, as His children (1 John 3:1). He loves us no matter what! His love transforms our lives and moves the mountains of circumstances that would keep us from knowing Him and receiving all that He has provided for us through Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace, you have been saved). Ephesians 2:4 – 5
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For your sake, we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35 – 39
God, the Father, is approachable through Jesus Christ and created us to operate on His love. Therefore, we need to begin with His love because everything we do must start from His love. His love brings healing and restoration. We love Him because He first loved us, and when we receive His love, we can love Him, ourselves, and others (Matthew 22:37-40). That is how we become whole.
In John 21:15 – 19, we see the story of Jesus restoring Peter after Peter had denied Christ before Jesus’s death and resurrection. Jesus asks Peter if he loves or agapes Him, but Peter responds that he loves Him with brotherly love. So we need the help of the Holy Spirit to help us love the Lord and others with His agape love. The following verses explain God’s love; this is how He loves us and wants us to love others:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 7
My prayer for you:
Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment. 2 Thessalonians 3:5; Ephesians 3:17 – 19; Philippians 1:9
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.