"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35
Love has been an encompassing theme in my life. It was God's love that first drew me into accepting His love for me on the cross & believing it by faith; it was His love that made me trust Him with my future and where He was leading me to go for college; it was because He loved us first that Louis & I were able to love each other as we should, loving God above each other—always.
In conclusion, It was my love for Him & His will that has brought me here.
When you grow closer to God, your understanding of love can't help but deepen. You always find yourself discovering that there is more to loving God & others—there's more to Love itself. I've been reading two books: "If" by Amy Carmichael & "Loving the Way Jesus Loves" by Phil Ryken. Specifically, Phil Ryken's book takes the love passage in 1 Corinthians 13 & goes through what love is and isn't while linking it to the ministry of Jesus here on earth. Even though the book doesn't go through the order of the adjectives and verbs of love in 1 Cor 13, it does go through narrative order of Jesus up until the ascension. It is powerful! It forces you to examine the way you give & take love, what you believe of love & the way Jesus loves. Phil Ryken does an amazing expository work and I highly recommend reading this book. It forever changed the way I look at the journey towards the crucifixion—I was in tears!
Alongside of those books, God kept me in the gospel of John. Interestingly enough, the gospel of John is where Love and works of love are emphasized. This is what I mean about love being an encompassing theme—it was everywhere—it still is.
"Love is the mark of a follower of Jesus. He didn't say that it would be by our church membership, by our words, by our works, by our knowledge, by our talented gifts, or by our wisdom, that all men will know that we are His disciples, but by our love for each other. What travesty and contradiction to the love of Christ when Christians envy each other, tear each other down and hate and persecute each other. What can the world say about discipleship? What a shame on us when members of civic clubs and fraternal organizations, love and help each other more than we do for each other, as Christians. Christians are to manifest the love of Jesus to each other, and to the world. When people look at your life, they need to see, not your physical beauty, not your abilities, not your prowess, but the love of Jesus. The world is hungry for love, and dying for love. Without realizing what it is, the quest of many, in their seeking, is love. What we need to know is that love is returned when given. If you would be loved, be a lover. If you would find love, scatter it around. If you would know love, show love. Love is magnetic; it will draw love." —Carl Loy
I can't help but be broken by a world that's desperate for love because I myself was hungry for love. If it weren't for Jesus, I would've done anything to ease the pain of my love starvation; I'm sure of it. The cry of my heart, the longing of my soul, is love. And if I want to love like my Savior loves, I must yearn to understand how much He loves us... how much He loves me. If you aren't sure how much God loves you, if you just don't believe that He does, I write these words for you. I've been unsure of His love far more than what you can imagine. But I refuse to keep going calling myself a Christian without the confidence of His love. Everything I stand for in on the line—I cannot glorify God without love and if I don't know His love, how can I give what I haven't received? How can I proclaim Christ without grasping His love? How can I love the way He loves if I don't even know how He loved? And let me tell you, He loved much before the cross. His whole earthly pilgrimage was one of love, not just the cross. It's a matter of us putting attention to the way He walked among us, just one glimpse and the contrast between Jesus and us is evident.
I want to be known by my love. Will you join me in this quest to know God, to know His love? Will you desire to love the way Jesus loves and be known for it?