Is love optional? Yes, I get to decide whether to love or not. So do you. We all do.
I often am not loving. I can be mean and cruel. I have no defense. “Master Jesus the Messiah, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
How do we show our love of God? It is straightforward. We keep his commandments. The Apostle John nails it.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” | 1 John 5:3
There is good news in that the Word of God and Jesus offers an understanding of the source, character, requirement and value of love, based on the nature and actions of God our Father. Jesus sums up God’s goal (command) for us as one of loving God and our neighbors.
“You shall love the Master your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ~Jesus | Matthew 22:37
I must confess that I am not the best at this. I am challenged many days. Let’s dig in. There is much to learn on how to love.
The Greek word here is ἀγάπη agape. The Greek word agape is often translated “love” in the New Testament.
How is “agape love” different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love. Unlike our English word love, agape is not used in the New Testament to refer to romantic or sexual love.
It does not refer to close friendship or brotherly love”, for which the Greek word philia is used. Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13.
- Luke 10:27 (NASB) — And he answered, “You shall love the Master your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
- John 14:21 — “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
- John 21:15 — So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Master; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”
- Romans 8:28 — And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:3 — constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Master Jesus the Messiah in the presence of our God and Father,
- James 1:12 — Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Master has promised to those who love Him.
- 1 Peter 1:8 — and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
- 1 John 5:3 — For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.