Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
(1 Timothy 4:12)
So far, we’ve talked about being examples to other believers in speech and life; now for the next one…love.
Why do we need love?
How do we love others?
How do we know we are loving others?
Why do we need to love others? What’s the point of loving others if you don’t really like them? Why put the effort into loving others?
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8)
We are commanded to love each other by God because love covers over sins. Love can overcome all kinds of evil. So why love each other? Well, most importantly, because God commands us to. If we are true disciples of Christ, we will want to obey Him. And second, because love covers most sins and therefore is the main way that we witness to others. Also, as Paul said:
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do nothavelove, I am nothing.
(1 Corinthians 13:2)
The definition of love is found in the famous “love chapter” of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
Love is sacrificing, unselfishness, patience, kindness. The qualities of love are pretty much listed in this passage.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Love means nothing if it’s not sincere. Pretending to like someone or always agreeing with them is not love. To exhibit the love of Christ, we must be sincere in our love for others. You don’t need to like someone to love them with God’s love. Just because Jesus didn’t like the Pharisees doesn’t mean He didn’t die for them too. God’s love goes above man’s behavior.
How do we know?
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.
(1 John 5:2)
So how do we know that we are loving others? The easiest (and perhaps most accurate) way of “checking” this is to compare ourselves to God’s love. Was Jesus hypocritical? Was He rude? Selfish? The answer to all of these is, of course, no. We need to be as close to Christ’s example as possible to be living examples of Him to the world. Another way of gauging our example of love is to check out 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8 — the characteristics of love.
Of course, none of this is possible without God’s help. Lean on Him and trust Him to help you show His love to everyone.
Following God’s commands proves that you love God and others.
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””
(Matthew 22:37 – 40)