No Greater Love

December marks the beginning of the season of gifts. One of the greatest gifts is the gift of love.

This is not just any kind of love; it is a special love. We must make sure that we tap into the right level of love. God is going to teach us about the greatest love of all.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:12-14).

Most of the time, we are taught a very selfish love. God is saying we’ve got to learn not a selfish love, but a selfless love.

Who’s got the most accurate model of love?

THE GREATEST LOVE IS THE LOVE GOD SHOWS TOWARD US.

The greatest love is the love that God models.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

That’s the kind of love we need to know. We should love one another as God loves us.

A lot of times, we get the wrong definition of love because we are watching it on TV. Our culture is obsessed with recreational sex. In the context of marriage, sex is absolutely correct. To God, it’s beautiful. But if you take it out of that private setting and you make it public, it now becomes pornographic. As soon as you take it out of context, you have perverted a gift that God has given to draw people closer together in the embrace of marriage. It was intended to be beautiful and intimate.

Be careful to correct back to God’s definition of love, lest we settled for a subterranean level or definition of love and we take that into our marriages, our families, our churches, our ministries and wonder why everything is falling apart.

TRUE LOVE IS A LOVE OF CHARACTER

The depth of your character will determine the depth of your love. If your character is shallow, then the depth of your love is going to be shallow. By the same token, the deeper your character, the deeper your sense of love will be.

But how do we grow in character? We need to examine any deficiencies in ourselves — our tendency to get angry, our tendency to blame others for what happens to us, how we use excuses, how unkind or abusive we are. If we can deal with all of these and more, then we can grow in character.

“Love is patient, love is kind and not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered …” (1 Cor. 13:4-5).

All the words and phrases define things of character. God is saying the highest kind of love is a love of character. As you grow in character, you’ll be able to speak out of a deeper sense of character. When you say, “I love you,” it has a ring of depth to it.

The best thing is to grow in character. What is one of those things that will help me to see if there’s character being built in me?

IT IS A LOVE OF COMMITMENT

That’s why sex, which is beautiful in God’s eyes, is only appropriate in the context of a committed marriage. Don’t make that commitment unless you are ready. Stay away from being physically involved so you can make that choice or commitment with a clear mind and heart. With a clear mind and heart, you can discern character depth in different people and be able to even judge your own character.

Trust Him. This is where faith comes in. Watch what God will do when you have that faith. The greatest love is a love of commitment, just as Jesus loved us.

Four Types of Love

We know that there are four different kinds of love. There’s a phileo love, where we get the word, “Philadelphia.” The city of Philadelphia is called the city of brotherly love. So phileo means “brotherly love;” it is the love between friends.

Then you have storge love, which is a love of a parent for a child.

You have eros love, which is a love between a husband and a wife. It is a romantic kind of love.

But the greatest love of all is the agape love of God, which says, “I choose to love you.” The agape love of God is a love of choice. It comes from a depth of character. He says, “I choose to love you, even if your response to My love is short. I will love you still, because it’s a love I choose. I choose to love you, and there’s not a thing you can do about it.”

When we are faithless, He remains faithful. When we sin, He is forgiving. That’s the greatest love of all — it’s a love of commitment to us.

The greatest love of all has and can still change the world. That’s the love that God wants to give to you this Christmas, and He asks you to pass it on. Take that kind of love; it’ll be the best gift you’ll receive this Christmas.

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