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Unselfish Love

To me, one of the scriptures taken out of context the most is 1 Corinthians 13, also known as “The Love Chapter”. It’s been used in nearly every Christian wedding, hung on the walls of our homes and quoted to people in Love about how they should love their spouse. The truth is that it has nothing to do with loving our spouse. It’s about loving people with God’s love that’s in us in order to point them to him. We can do all sorts of things for people that bring us glory, but if we don’t love them in a way that points to Him, it’s pointless.

The last verse in the chapter is probably the most recognized one, but I want to look at it in the Amplified version which adds context to the original meaning. It says, “And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.” I believe love, in this context, is the greatest because love of this sort offers God’s grace and makes us more like Him.

The first verse in the next chapter continues Paul’s thoughts on the matter. It says, “Pursue [this] love [with eagerness, make it your goal].” That kind of love isn’t natural for most of us. It’s something we’re going to have to desire to have, and we’re going to have to pursue it. It’s going to require us to pray for it and to put it into practice in our lives until it becomes a part of who we are. To have unselfish love for others should be the goal of every one of us, especially since Jesus said we would be known for our love for one another.

Today, think about what that love likes like coming from you. What can you do to show someone God’s love? It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture that goes viral on social media. It can be a simple word of encouragement, a prayer for a friend in need, a purchased cup of coffee for the person in line behind you, a warm meal for a homeless person, or a call to someone feeling lonely. These unselfish acts of love don’t have to change the world, but if we do enough of them out of God’s love for us, it just might.

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

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10 Scriptures On Love

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1. Keep on loving one another as Christians. (Hebrews 13:1 GNT)

2. This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. (John 15:12 AMP)

3. Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7 NLT)

4. Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. (Romans 12:9-10 MSG)

5. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. (Ephesians 5:25 GNB)

6. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. (1 John 4:10 NLT)

7. Love does no wrong to one’s neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law. (Romans 13:10 AMP)

8. So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 MSG)

9. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT)

10. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17 ESV)

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Loving God

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It’s Free Friday! Today is the day you let go of the things in your life that keep you down or hold you back from all God has for you. To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of “CrazyLove: Overwhelmed By A Relentless God” by Francis Chan. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

I’ve lived in and been to parts of the world where marriages are still arranged. Marriages aren’t based on love, but on socio-economic classes. In order for the man to marry the woman, he gets a check list of things he has to do before they are allowed to marry. The thought is that if he can complete a checklist, he can take care of their daughter. Love can happen, but it’s not required for the marriage to work.

As far out as that sounds to us for marriage, we try that in our relationship with God. We think God is concerned with a checklist. Do this. Don’t do that. Thou shalt not… But the reality is that God wants a relationship with us based on love rather than a checklist of do’s and don’t’s. He wants us to fall in love with Him the way that He has fallen in love with us. He wants us to be so deeply in love with Him that everything we do is an outpouring of that love. He wants us to be thinking of Him just like He thinks of us.

If you’ve ever been in love, you know what that feeling is like. Everything you do should be for the betterment of the relationship. Are there times where you mess up and do something wrong? Of course, but that doesn’t mean you don’t love that person. When you mess up, you apologize and make things right so that the relationship can continue. It’s the same way with our relationship with God. We may mess up, but because of our love for Him, we apologize, ask for forgiveness and repair the relationship.

Love does what it takes to make sure the relationship is healthy no matter who is at fault. In our sin, we damaged the relationship with God. Adam hid in the garden and we try to hide still. But God, in His love for us, did what it took to repair the relationship. He extended an olive branch and built a new bridge in place of the one we burned down. He didn’t do it so He could give us a checklist of things to do. He did it because He loves each one of us and wants to have an intimate relationship with us. He gave all He had when we had nothing to give. He came to us when we couldn’t go to Him. He offered forgiveness when all we had done was offend.

God wants each one of us to see how much He loves us and is willing to do for us. He wants us to voluntarily love Him back. He knows that for our relationship with Him to work, we are going to have to love Him rather than fulfill a checklist. Jesus said that he who is forgiven most, loves most. He didn’t say that he who checks off the most boxes will have the greatest relationship. Your life should be lived out of love for Him. Your decisions should be made with love in mind. What can you do today to show God love rather than finding a box to check? When you make that change, you’ll see a deeper walk with Him.

If you would like to win “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan, go to the Devotions By Chris Facebook page here and “like” it. I will randomly pick one person tomorrow (July 12, 2014) who has liked my page. If you have already “liked” my page, you are already entered for this drawing. I would appreciate it if you would invite your friends to like my page so they can receive encouragement from God’s Word too.

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I Choose To Love

It’s Free Friday! Today is the day you let go of the things in your life that keep you down or hold you back. To celebrate, I’m giving away “Unglued: Making Wise Choices In The Midst of Raw Emotions” 6 session DVD by Lysa TerKeurst. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

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A friend of mine, who has been married for almost fifteen years, was talking with me about love and marriage. She told me that several years ago her husband left her. Instead of moving on, she held onto her love for him and decided to win him back. She tried everything she could think of. Month after month passed and he wouldn’t break. He wanted to be free to do his own thing and told her he didn’t feel it anymore. Even when he dated other women, she hung on to her love for him. Four years went by before he realized that he would never find anyone to love him the way she did.

They started dating again and recommitted their marriage. They’ve been together several years since that separation and their marriage is stronger than ever. I asked her how because I couldn’t understand. Her answer was simple, yet difficult. She said, “I choose to love him. When he makes me mad, I tell him that I choose to love him anyway. When he leaves clothes on the floor instead of in the hamper, I choose to love him. When he forgets important dates, I choose to love him. When we get in heated discussions, I choose to love him. No matter what happens, it’s my choice to love him or to let the other things control my thoughts.”

She gets what a marriage relationship is all about. It’s not about feelings, because those go away. It’s not about looks, because those go away. It’s not about feeling trapped. It’s about making a daily choice to stay in love. It’s about making a choice to fight for the relationship you are in and fighting off the temptations that try to pull you out of it. It’s a choice to find new ways to keep the flame burning. It’s a choice to look beyond the things that drive you nuts and to focus on the qualities you love. It’s not easy to make those choices.

In fact, I tell people who are getting married that marriage is the hardest thing they will ever do in life. They will have to fight for that relationship every day for the rest of their life. They will have to set boundaries to protect their love. They will have to communicate when they don’t want to. They will have to force themselves to eat crow even when they think they’re right for the sake of the relationship. They will have to lose the mentality that they are two separate people and adopt the idea that they are one and a house divided cannot stand. They will have to choose daily to be in love with the same person day after day, year after year, decade after decade. Love is worth fighting for.

No marriage is perfect because it involves two imperfect people. It takes both of them freeing themselves of selfish motives and putting the other’s needs above their own. It takes one person carrying the heavy load while the other can’t or won’t. It takes understanding that marriage is not 50/50, it’s 100/100. Both parties have to give it their all for it to work. Marriage comes down to making the same decision day after day, year after year, decade after decade. Both parties have to choose to love the other more than they love themselves every day, not just on days where Hallmark tells them to. They have to put thought and effort into the relationship 365 days a year. Love is a choice.

If you would like to win the “Unglued” DVD by Lysa TerKeurst, all you have to do is go to my Facebook page here and “like” it. I will randomly pick one person tomorrow (February 15, 2014) who has liked my page. If you have already liked my page and enjoy reading these daily devotionals, you are already entered. Please invite your friends to like my page so they can receive encouragement from God’s Word too.

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