Updated: Feb 19, 2022
I believe that we make the most of life when we follow the principles on how to get the most out of life. Those principles are found in God's Word. They work because they are grounded on truth. As Jesus said in John 8:31-32, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I am a pastor, Bible teacher, and the author of the book "When Truth Knocks." You can find out more about me by going to my website www.eddiedfleming.net. My blog will focus mainly on biblical truths from God's Word. From time to time I may do a book review of a book I've read. However, since all truths emanate from God, occasionally I will share stories or personal events that reveal a truth or helpful information that can help us all make the most out of life. Life is too short not to make the most of it.
Made for Love
Love is essential in life, that is, essential for a quality and meaningful life. This is true because we are made in God's image. And the Bible says that God is love, "Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love" (1 John 4:8).
However, since our image has been greatly marred by sin, it needs restoring, and we need to be reconciled with God. When we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we are reconciled with God and the restoration process begins. We are then empowered, (indwelt by the Holy Spirit) to love as God loves, but the effects of sin and the influence of the world need to be negated by the renewing of our minds (See Romans 12:2).
To help us recover a loving mindset, God gives us much information about love in His Bible, however, and often incorrectly, society has a lot to say about love. Well, say may not be the right word. Society is consumed with the idea of love. It uses love to sell just about everything; movie tickets, perfume, lingerie, flowers, chocolates, etc. However, the loves of the world are often nothing like the love of the Bible.
The world equates sex with love, and although both are creations of God, love is so much more than sex. Love is caring about others. It’s wants what is best for others. It seeks to do and be there for others in time of need.
When it comes to love, our English language is limited to just one word. However, the Greeks, during Jesus’ day, had several words for love. There was “eros” which has to do with the sexual desire for a man or a woman. The word “phileo” has to do with the love a friend. The word “agape” has to do with a Godly kind of love.
The "phileo" and "eros" types of love are given to us by God to enjoy and add flavor to life, but within the boundaries of God’s Word. However, the "agape" type of love is for directing our actions and reactions to our spouse, our friends, our neighbors, and our God. It is given to us to make the world better by bringing about the will of God on earth as it is in heaven.
Therefore, "agape" is the key to serving and following Christ, If you love me, you will keep my commandments (1 John 14:15).
And, Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:
Notice the last sentence. “By this we may know that we are in him.” Love is also like a litmus test that indicates we know Jesus as Lord and Savior. By submitting to His Word and obeying what it says about how we are to live and treat others, we give evidence that Christ is in us and we are in Him.
I see love as the keyword of the New Testament. It’s the force behind God saving us, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
It is described as part of the fruit of the Spirit in the book of Galatians . Since every saved person has the Holy Spirit dwelling within them, the influence of the Spirit will produce this fruit (spiritual characteristic) in the believer. It's not a coincident that the first characteristic is love: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control … (Galatians 5:22-23).
Love is first because it is the most important. To insure that believers understood the importance of this godly love, and to guard against misunderstandings or any attempt to pervert it into something else, Paul describes "agape" love in detail in his letter to the Corinth church. It reads: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
This type of love enables a believer to obey Christ’s commands to love even our enemies (See Matthew 5:43-48). It also enables us to forgive a person an unlimited number of times. Jesus told Peter that He should be willing to forgive his brother 70 X 7 (Matthew 18:21-22).
Unfortunately, many view Jesus's commandments on love to be unrealistic. And they are, if we depend on our abilities to fulfil them. But they are not difficult in the power of God's Spirit (See 1 John 5:3). Furthermore, His commandments are always meant to bring Him glory, and benefit us and others. A good illustration of the benefit of obeying His commandments can be seen in the story down below. Always remember, obeying God is always the best policy for us and others. And, the more difficult the command is to obey, the greater the benefit and greater is the glory given to God.
Haddon Robinson, a Bible scholar and former pastor once said, that years ago a friend of his had committed adultery, but repented of it and sought the forgiveness of his wife. His wife, however, said to him, “I don’t think I can ever forgive you for what you did.”
Sometime later, Haddon went to see her. He asked her about the time she was saved. He said, what kind of sinner were you before you were saved. She finally put herself in the category of average. He then asked if she had any big sins that God had forgiven her, some that she wouldn’t want anyone to know about. She said yes. He then said if God could forgive you of those sins, why can’t you forgive your husband of this one sin.
Her response was, "I doesn’t make sense not to, does it?" She forgave him, and they had a wonderful life together until the day he died. At the funeral, she told Haddon, “I shudder to think of all the wonderful times we would have missed out on, had I not forgiven him.”
God commands that we forgive and love others, and they both go hand -in-hand. But what's so amazing about obeying God is that the difficulties of doing it are so miniscule when compared to the blessings that result from it.
Facing the Truth
When it comes to loving God and others, we need to face an unpleasant truth. If we can't love as we should, we don't have the God of love living in us. If we do have Jesus as Lord and Savior, then stop messing around and start loving God and everyone else in the power of the Holy Spirit. Of course, you may need to do some repenting and submitting before you can tap into the power from on high that enables us to do the impossible things, such as loving our enemies.