The Demands and Gifts of Love
Written by Leland Ping on Feb 14, 2015
Valentine’s Day is a day when we often reflect on those whom we care about the most and, perhaps more than at other times in the year, choose to share those feelings with them. On this day, the word love will be used quite often by a great many people. This powerful word is quite important for the Christian. Followers of Christ see in God’s word how vital love is in our lives. It’s important for us to know what this love demands of us as well as what it gives to us.
First, love demands obedience. Jesus told His followers that if they loved him, they would keep His commandments (John 14:15). Jesus wanted to impress upon us that, if we say we love Him without actually doing what He has com- manded, that “love” is meaningless. The Son of God spoke these important words in Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” To be obedient to God is to love Him.
Furthermore, love should have a constant presence in our lives. Perhaps there is no better place to turn in God’s
word to understand and appreciate love than I Corinthians 13. In this powerful chapter, Paul writes that no matter how “good” we think we are, if we are without love, we are nothing. Paul writes, “though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing” (I Corinthians 13:3). Love should be an ever-present emotion as it will “never fail” and will always “endure all things” (I Corinthians 13:7-8).
The gifts of love are also important for a Christian to appreciate. God Himself is a gift who, throughout the scriptures, is described as the essence of love. One of the most valuable lessons which the apostle John teaches us as Christians is that if we live our lives according to God’s will, rendering obedience to Him, we will receive love. In a powerful statement, John writes, “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (I John 4:16).
Finally, salvation is the incredible gift of our Creator which provides us the opportunity to avoid the horrors of hell and to one day, if we remain faithful, spend eternity in heaven. Perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible illustrates this point quite well – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). These words, spoken by Jesus Himself, prove that salvation is a result of the magnificent love of God. Let us be thankful for that love, and continue to live our lives in such a way that one day, we can spend eternity with our God – expressing to Him our deepest and truest love.