At the start of a new year, we reflect on our relationships and determine which ones need strengthening or transformation. We set plans to strengthen every relationship and improve our love. We even start working to strengthen our relationship with God. But do we know what love is? Do we know what unconditional love is? Do we know that Jesus' legacy is the gift of unconditional love and salvation?
"What is love?" According to the dictionary, love is a feeling towards another person that naturally attracts us. It is the desire for union that seeks reciprocity and completes us, makes us happy, and gives us the energy to live together, communicate, and create. Love is an intense feeling of the human being who, starting from their insufficiency, needs and seeks the encounter and union with another being. But what is love from a biblical perspective? The Douglas Tenney Bible Dictionary explains that the word "love" comes from the Hebrew word "ahavah" and the Greek word "agape." In the Bible, love is the very nature of God. The verse from 1 John 4:7-8 explains it: "Beloved, let us love one another; because love is from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love has not known God; because God is love." Another great verse is 1 John 4:16, "And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him."
Love is the most important Christian virtue that we should all emulate.13 And now faith, hope, and love remain these three. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13. Love is indispensable in the relationships of human beings with God and with their fellow men."37 Jesus said to him: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is similar: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.40 All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments. Matthew 22:37-40.
If we compare both definitions, we realize that the love the Bible describes to us is much greater than any love that we, as human beings, can experience. We must read John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life to realize the immense love God has for us, a love of total surrender that gave what was most precious so that we could enjoy eternal life. It is thanks to this sacrifice we can enjoy the love of others. That sacrifice was the greatest example of unconditional love that has ever existed. It is a love that knows no bounds. It surpasses any conditions and transcends all limitations. It is the purest form of happiness that breaks us free from any constraints and liberates our souls. It is the kind of love we must embrace, an unconditional love that can transform our lives in the most beautiful ways imaginable.10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved if God has loved us so, we must also love one another. 1 John 4:10-12.
God's love is not simply a physical attraction or fleeting emotion. Rather, it is a deliberate decision to show grace to those who do not deserve it. He chose to love us despite our sins, flawed nature, stubbornness, weaknesses, selfishness, and imperfections. His love for us is so great that He gave the best of himself, bearing the weight of all our guilt and wrongdoings. He carried the worst of us to give us the best of Him.
God sent us his son as the greatest legacy of Love. 9 In this, the love of God for us was shown, in that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 1 John 4:9. Jesus, being divine, chose to set aside His divinity and sacrifice His life for the sake of humanity. Wow! What a great display of love! Would you be willing to give your life to another person? I imagine that the only ones who will say yes will be those who are parents, who I know would be willing to give their lives for their children, but would you be willing to give your life for someone who is not related to you? 12 This is my commandment: That you love one another, as I have loved you. John 15:12-13 says, "Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Maybe some say, I would die for someone good; but would you die for an enemy, for a sinner? 6 For Christ, while we were still weak, at his time died for the wicked. 7 Indeed, hardly any man will die for a righteous man; However, it could be that someone dared to die for the good. 8 But God shows his love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8.
When we look at the perfect example of God's love, we realize how limited and conditional our love can be. For instance, many individuals claim to love their partners, but when they face a disagreement, they feel like running away. They create chaos if their partners do not comply with their wishes. It seems people only want a partner to fulfill their needs without sacrifices, empathizing with their partner's perspective, or showing real commitment. Please take a few minutes to read 1 Corinthians 13. By doing so, you will gain insight into what true love is like. You will see that many of the relationships we are in are characterized by a love that lacks real commitment and is instead filled with conditions and entitlement. You will come to understand that your love for God can never surpass the love He has for you. The least we can do to express our gratitude for His great legacy is to share that love with others. Let us not take his great sacrifice for granted or stain that love with our evil actions. May our lives reflect Christ's love, and may our actions show gratitude to Him.
The start of the year is a great time to strive to embody the immense love that Christ has for us. May our daily actions and interactions with others be a testament to this love, shining brightly and serving as a beacon of hope and joy to all those around us. Let us show gratitude to Him for the countless blessings in our lives, and let this gratitude permeate every aspect of our being.
Repeat this prayer with me:
Dear Lord, I humbly acknowledge that nothing I have done or can ever do could repay the immense sacrifice of sending your son to die for me on the cross of Calvary. Thank you for carrying our worst to give us the best of you. I am forever indebted to you for your unconditional love. Lord, I ask you to come into my life and take control of all my relationships so your love may be manifested in each of them. I pray that you strengthen and nourish them every day. I surrender everything to you and ask for your help to reflect your love with my actions so that my life is a testimony of gratitude to you. May our love not be a fleeting feeling that occurs only a few days a year but a constant and continuous expression of my love for you. Please allow me to experience your love every day and help me to enjoy your blessings every day. At the same time, I pray that I may transmit that same love to others so that I can always be an instrument of your love. I pray for all this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen!