Do you struggle to define Christian love? Is the image of love in society at odds with what your faith has taught you? If so, then you are on the first step to understanding its true meaning, and all you need is a little help to define what it truly means.
Love is a tricky concept to behold, especially within the realms of faith. Below, we discuss the concept of Christian love and how you can truly know what it is.
What Does the Bible Say About Love?
Oddly, the bible does not say anything about loving oneself. This fits with its inherent themes, of self-sacrifice and giving oneself up for the benefit of others. This is just as God’s son christ did, to show that which we must partake in.
In fact, the biblical definition of love actively goes so far as to denounce the love of oneself as a sin. In Philippians 2:3, God’s words state that we must “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves”.
When the Bible does talk of love, it gives us two different versions. The first, and arguably the most famous, comes from the gospels of both Matthew and Mark. It commands us to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31).
The second of these comes from the old testament, in Leviticus. It tells us that “You must treat the foreigner, as native-born… who staying among you. Love them as yourself…” (Leviticus 19:34).
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What Does Christian Love Look Like?
These bible verses about love tell us that Christian love carries three unique characteristics. These three characteristics are often at odds with the love shown by society, or what it perceives love to be.
The first of these is that love in Christian must be demonstrated. It must be shown in the actions we perform, for those around us and those with who we seldom come into contact. Demonstrating love should replace words, which can often be trivial and used without much substance of action behind them.
Secondly, this love must be sacrificial. The concept of love can be mistaken for liking or agreeing with something, to the extent that we feel extremely powerful about it. However, this is simply a desire, not true love.
This love is about receiving. Christian love is about giving, and something must be given or sacrificed to show true love.
Finally, Love is open. It is not held back until someone is worthy or has displayed that it is reciprocal. Love is given without stipulations.
How Do We Love God?
True love for God is not shown through the systems we have in place. Through prayer and visiting the church are a way of worship that can guide and direct us, true love for God comes in the love we display for others.
This love needs to be sacrificial, demonstrated, and openly given. Only then can we truly show God love, and be worthy of receiving the love of God himself.
Begin to Love
You do not need to be a Christian to embrace the values of Christian love. In fact, in a modern society that seemingly promotes the concept of the self over any other, solace can be found in the concept for people of any faith or none at all.