“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
Several years ago, the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, MO made public 1,300 recently discovered letters that the late President wrote to his wife, Bess, over the course of a half-century. Mr. Truman had a lifelong rule of writing to his wife every day they were apart. He followed this rule whenever he was away on official business or whenever Bess left Washington. We should be most impressed by the simple fact that every day he was away, the President of the United States took time out from his dealing with the world’s most powerful leaders to sit down and write a letter to his wife. Love leads one to do this sort of thing, and the Bible says that love is the greatest of virtues.
According to what Jesus said, the two most important things that we can do in life is to love God and to love others. In fact, all of the commandments hinge on these two priorities. The Greek language had four different words to refer to love. First, the word ‘eros’ referred to physical or sensual relationship. Second, the word ‘storge’ was used to refer to family relationships. Third, the word ‘phileo’ referred to the love among close friends, as brothers and sisters. Fourth, the word ‘agape’ referred to unconditional and unselfish love, the type of love that chooses to continue selflessly loving someone even when it is not easy to do so. This is the type of love that is being upheld in 1 Corinthians 13. It is this type of love that God has shown us in the person of Jesus Christ. It was obedience to His Father and ‘agape’ love for us that motivated Jesus to go to the cross. The Bible says in Romans 5:8 that God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Such love is beyond our comprehension. In fact, the only proper response to such love is worship. Before we ever loved Him, He loved us first.
Since God proved His love for sinners by giving His Son to die in our place, we too should be motivated by selfless love. It is only this kind of selfless love that will result in a happy marriage and home. Far too often, husbands and wives are conditional in their love. This kind of selfishness explains why so many marriages are ending in divorce in our day. There has been a breakdown in ‘agape’ love. Perhaps they have never fully understood or they have totally forgotten what the love of God looks like. “For God so loved that He gave…” If we are to be like Him, then we too must learn to love in such a way that we give. Marriage involves both give and take, but there must be much more give than take!
This kind of love is supernatural and does not come from the individual alone. Romans 5:5 says, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” When a person is saved, the Holy Spirit comes to take up residence in their heart, thereby empowering and enabling them to love. He is your resident Helper who will help you love others the way that God does. Remember this truth in your relationships with others. Simply pray and trust God to help you love others as He has loved you.
“Father, thank You for loving us the way that You do. If anyone ever questions Your love for them, they simply need to look to the cross. As Your wrath was poured out on Jesus, Your love was poured out on us. In bright red letters of crimson, You have written a love letter to the world. May You help us to love others as You have loved us. Amen.”