What Is Love? -- God's Point-Of-View (Part Three)
by Bobby Bruno 3/22/2014 / Christian Living
In Part Three, we will talk about how having God's love in us will help us in our lives as we walk with Him in today's seemingly loveless world. Having God's love in us will not cure all of our ills; Jesus never promised us that. He did say that we will have troubles in this life (John 16:33) and that we will suffer not only because Jesus suffered in His life, but also because suffering is a necessary part of growing up as people, and the only way to shed sinful practices out of our lives. Without suffering we stay stagnant and don't grow, never learning just how much God loves us as only He can. God allows suffering to teach us that He can be trusted in all aspects of our lives, no matter how big or small.
It is especially in these times of suffering (and even in times of great joy) that, no matter what the cause, we learn the one most essential truth about God that can make a huge difference in our lives. The more we see that God can be trusted with all that we go through, the more we find out one of the greatest truths of all -- God's love will never fail us. Not ever! Not once! Never! In First Corinthians, the Apostle Paul gives us the attributes of love. These attributes are from God's perspective to us, and our perspective towards other people. Whenever love is spoken about in Christian circles, we always start with these verses from Paul. First Corinthians 13:4-8a tells us that "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." In truth, these verses prove to us that God's love will never fail us simply because God is love (1 John 4:8).
Before I continue on speaking about God's love for us, and how we are to respond to that love, I want us to take a look at these attributes one at a time to discover together just what love is and how it is to be shown to all those we come in contact with. I spoke briefly about these verses in Part One of this series of articles, but here is where I want to expound on the meaning of each attribute for better clarity and understanding. These verses may seem simple to understand, but, as we humans know, they are not easy to perform.
Love Is Patient
The first attribute of love is that love is patient. The definition of being patient is being "able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people: done in a careful way over a long period of time without hurrying" (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). Oh, how much this rubs against the way most people are. I hate waiting in lines, whether it is in a store or on the road in my car, I always wished that I could levitate over all the others in front of me and get to the front quicker. Remaining calm and not becoming annoyed is very hard for most of us, especially when dealing with difficulties and with difficult people (And, yes, that difficult difficulty could even be your wife or husband). But God's love is us is supposed to end this impatience in us, and it does, if we allow it to. We can either stay impatient, or take a deep breath and remember that all of us are sinners in need of a Savior, or we can follow God's lead and love each other as He sees us, as lost people in search of a shepherd to lead us into the proper way to live and to love. Patience is not just a virtue; it is the Godly way to live.
God's patience is extraordinarily strong. His patience is seen in the fact that we are still here. If God were one of us He would have killed us off a long time ago. In fact, He did just that in the days of Noah, when God had had it with the continuous evil of man. God flooded the earth and wiped out everyone but Noah and his family, and two of each animal that had walked the earth back then. But, today, God is waiting until the entire earth had heard the Good News about Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15). Once the whole world has had a chance to repent of their sins through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross the end will come and Jesus will be established at the true ruler of the universe for all of eternity. God's patience will not let Him destroy the earth until the promised time has come. God wants everyone to come to Jesus for salvation, and because He is patient, He is giving everyone on the earth plenty of time to make up their minds about whether they want to spend eternity with Him in heaven, or whether they want to spend eternity in Hell with Satan and his demons. The physical representation of this promise can be seen every time a rainbow appears in the sky, for God has promised not to destroy man ever again with a flood (Genesis 9:11-17).
Love Is Kind
The second attribute of love is that love is kind. When we think of kindness, we picture one person helping another. We have been told by many that we are to do acts of random kindness to all we come in contact with. For some of us, as long as we do one random act of kindness a day, we feel that we have done our duty to mankind. In the last few years another slogan has appeared on the horizon of kindness that says we should pay an act of random kindness done to us forward to someone else and that, if we do this, the world will become a better place, and we would all learn how to get along with one another. But the Bible clearly states that, without love, we are just going through the motions (1 Corinthians 13:1-3), and usually want the favor returned to us somehow. When we hold a door open for someone who is coming in when we are going out, do we even give a thought to that person we just passed in a loving matter, or, again, are we just going through the motions acting as if we are being kind? Do we give a thought to their spiritual life and their relationship they may have with God, if any?
Being kind means more than just a passing act of kindness. Being kind means that you are to give all of yourself to all the people you come in contact with each day. I don't mean that you never take care of yourself. If you don't then what good are you to anyone? Jesus even said that we are to place others above ourselves and to think of others first (Galatians 6:3). Only with the love of God in our hearts will we be showing true kindness to those who may never have had anyone show them kindness in their lives. I'm sure we can think of a few people we've come to know that had lives where kindness was the last thing they were given or shown. We should never give love selfishly. Every act of kindness we perform for another should be done with humility and from a stance that I will not place myself above any other human being. Jesus never did. Even the Apostle Paul felt that he was not worthy to be considered above any one he met (1 Corinthians 15:9).
Love Does Not Envy
The third attribute of love is that love does not envy. Envy is defined as wanting what someone else has without going through the motions it to do what it takes to get what others have. Envy is when I obsess on the new Chevrolet Camaro my neighbor has; a car that I badly would like to own myself if I could afford the insurance and upkeep that a new Camaro would need for me to keep it on the road. But since I can't have one, I'll just be jealous that my neighbor does. Sure, he is a doctor who spent many years in medical school to be able to afford the new Camaro, but why should I have to go to all that trouble? I just want his car in my driveway. Have you noticed that none of these attributes say that love is never jealous? That's because jealousy and envy are practically the same thing. You can't have one without the other. Sometimes envy and jealousy can consume our lives so much that, since I can't have a brand, spanking new Camaro in my driveway then why should my neighbor? Maybe I should just slash the tires and sit back and watch my neighbor wonder why he ever bought such a beautiful car. That would teach him to buy the same car I want to drive. Envy can be a violent emotion if taken too far.
Love Does Not Boast
The fourth attribute is the opposite of envy: boasting -- love does not boast. Let's take the Camaro example and apply it to this attribute. I have just bought a brand, spanking new Camaro. It's yellow, because I love the Transformer movies, which is where I first saw the new edition of the Camaro in real life. Every weekend, I wash my new Camaro and every now and then I look up to see which of my neighbors are watching in envy of my new purchase. I especially watch for my immediate, next door neighbor who I know has been salivating to own one of his own. As a matter of fact, I bought this yellow Camaro just to show people how successful my medical practice has been doing. Even at work, I can't stop talking about my new Camaro. I love watching my co-workers cling to my every word at it. I make sure that I park it where it can be seen by as many people as possible. On and on I go about its perfect handling and performance.
We can see that boasting takes a lot of energy. What most of us don't realize is that we can lose a lot of friends, and, yes, even family members, because we just can't shut up about the things we think are important. We should never boast about our careers, our homes, our cars, or beach front rental homes and especially our growth as believers. We should never, ever boast about ourselves because we then appear stuck up and arrogant. Stuck up and arrogant people soon find themselves alone and forgotten. Everything that you have in your life was given to you by God, even if you don't realize it. Even your growth as a Christian is ordered and guided by God. God is the only one who can boast about anything simply because it was He who created everything. It is true that most people who boast are those who are living a lie. They boast because they want others to think that they have a life. As a matter of fact, most boasters have a low self-image of themselves and lack the self-confidence they need to even believe in themselves. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), which means that, to Him, we are all the same: His creation and lost sinners in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ. No one person is any important than another in God's eyes. We all have the same potential because it is God who puts this potential in all of us. When we finally have a relationship with God and Jesus, this potential is unlocked within us and God will allow us to grow into this potential as we find out what the gifts and talents God has bestowed on each and every one of us through His Holy Spirit, who will guide us to use these gifts and talents to the fullest of our abilities. We can't boast about anything we didn't create in us. We can't boast about anything God has given us to use for His glory and to further His Kingdom here on Earth. Let God boast about His achievements in you for He is the only one who can.
Love Is Not Proud
The fifth attribute of love is that love is not proud. Pride is when you consider yourself more important or more superior than other people. The Bible calls this haughtiness. Again, God is no respecter of persons. What makes us think that we should consider ourselves better than another person? Excessive pride is one of the reasons the world is in the shape it is today. Wars have started because of the pride of one nation over another. When one feels that he or she is better than another, that person cannot look outside themselves simply because their pride has blinded them to only look on the inside. The Bible even tells us that pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). This means that, when you have lifted yourself so high above others (in your opinion), the only place you have to fall is down. How high is your pedestal? Have you grown so prideful in yourself and your accomplishments that you can't even see the ground from way up there? How many people have you stepped on to even get onto that pedestal? Have family and friends paid the price for your insistence that you are a god among men? Do you lord yourself over others repeatedly? Do you really think that you can maintain that position without losing all that you hold dear to your heart? That is, if your hard heart can even see anyone else but yourself.
The way to combat the pride that has clouded your view of anyone else but yourself, Jesus spoke repeatedly about humility. For example, Jesus said that the meek (the humble) shall inherit the Earth (Matthew 5:5). To be humble means exactly the opposite of being prideful. You know in your heart that you are no better than anyone else in the whole, entire world. Jesus was the most humble person who ever walked the dirt of the Earth. Jesus was so humble that He thought Himself less than any other human being He did or did not come in contact with. Jesus gave His life in humility so that we could be reconciled with God. Even the Apostle Paul considered himself less than any other (1 Corinthians 15:9). We are to follow Jesus' example. When we treat others better than ourselves, we are not saying that we are truly less than they are, but we are saying that we appreciate them as one of God's creations that He Himself loves dearly. Humility allows us to see people as God sees them, again, lost sinners in need of a Savior. The more we see others as God sees them, the more we will love them and serve them in their times of need without batting an eyelid. Being humble in all things lets others know that we care about them and that we want them to know that God loves them and wants to bring them home with Him at the end of their lives. Being humble does not mean looking up at others from a lower position; it means that we see all others as equals. If the world could live this way everyday, wars would cease, the poor would never go hungry, and love would reign in every heart a soft heart the kind that can be molded and shaped into the image of Jesus Christ. This is exactly what God is striving to do in every heart that belongs to Him. Follow His lead and your pedestal will never have to be built at all and your fall will never be an issue because there will never be one to begin with.
Love Is Not Rude
The sixth attribute of love is that love is not rude. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines rude as "not having or showing concern or respect for the rights and feelings of other people: not polite." Is there anyone on this planet that loves a rude person? Is there anyone who actually likes it when someone cuts them off in traffic or in the grocery store check-out line? Why are some people so rude? What makes them this way? The answer is simple rude people are impatient people. They are rude because they are in a great hurry for whatever reason. Impatience equals rudeness. In answer to my question "Is there anyone on this planet that loves a rude person" the answer is no. No one loves a rude person: except for God. Yes, God loves rude people, too. Remember that God does not just look at the outward behavior of a person; He mainly looks into their heart. Since God looks into a person's heart, He can see the reason why they are so rude and impatient. God can see the heartache they have in their heart from whatever their past has dealt them. From God's point-of-view, they are people who need His healing, for only God can heal a broken heart so that the heart of a broken person can be restored to the condition that it had been before the hurting began. Psychiatry can only begin to heal the mind so far, but until the heart is healed, the mind will have a harder time finding resolution to the issues that plague it. Rudeness is a condition of the heart. Most rude people are looking for attention and most times they get it just so their tempers can be averted away from the object of their impatience.
If you look up the word rudeness in the dictionary, you will find over forty synonyms and related words that show what rudeness is. Some of these words are: disrespectfulness, brashness, grumpiness, vulgarity, indecency, and sharpness, to name a few. People that show these attributes of rudeness tend to get on our nerves. Imagine being a married couple and treating each other these ways on a daily basis? How long do you think the marriage would last? My guess would not very long. The opposite of being rude is being respectful, humble, kind, graceful, and good, to name a few. These are the kinds of attributes that love seeks to give to others. The reasoning is simple: if you respect others, they will respect you; if you are kind to others, then they will be kind to you. The Bible itself sums it up very nicely when it says in Luke 6:31, "Do to others as you would like them to do to you" (NLT). This is where we get our Golden Rule from. Remember to look past the face of the rude person in front of you and try to see what their issue really is. Most rude people aren't even aware that they are being rude because it is out of habit that they are and that the issue that makes them rude has not been healed yet. Being graceful means more than just being nice; it also means giving this person the same grace God gives you every time you ask Him to forgive your sins. God forgives you immediately and then forgets about the sin completely (Psalm 103:12). We need to do the same for those rude people we come in contact with every day. Love is never rude, but loving is always the best way to be.
Love Is Never Self-seeking
The seventh attribute of love is that love is never self-seeking. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines self-seeking as "the act or practice of selfishly advancing one's own ends; concerned only about getting what you want or need and not caring about what happens to other people." The word "if" is not in the vocabulary of someone who loves. The word "if" is a dangerous word in any kind of relationship, even if the parties involved don't at first realize it. But, later on, when the relationship takes a turn for the worse, some of the difficulties can be traced back to the "ifs' in the how the relationship is conducted. For example: I tell my wife that I will clean the house for her if she does something for me. Or an even greater example would be I, the husband, will spend more time with her if she would have more sex with me. If the husband truly loved his wife he wouldn't place demands on her to get what he wants.
This "if" issue extends to all relationships home, work, anywhere two people come in contact. Placing demands on others to get what you want is being self-seeking. The biggest and worst "if" is when someone says that "I will love you if" and places a condition on loving that person. No matter what condition you place on another person's love you are showing others that you care more about getting your own way than you do about them and the relationship you have with them. If Jesus wanted to be self-seeking, He never would have gone to the cross, and we would all still be deep in our sins. God never puts conditions on His love for you, but He does tell you to choose life and not death (Deuteronomy 30:19). In Scripture, God continually tries to convince you that you need Jesus in your life, if you want to be in Heaven with Him when you die. But that "if you want to be in Heaven with Him" is not a condition for Him to love you. It is a choice that you yourself will have to make before your last day on earth arrives. Jesus loves every person on earth whether they accept Him or not. That is why He gives us the choice to make about where we will spend eternity.
While reading "Resurrection" by Hank Hanegraff, I came across a paragraph that said, while talking about the choice of Heaven or Hell, "Without choice, Heaven would be Hell. The righteous would inherit a counterfeit Heaven, and the unrighteous would be incarcerated in Heaven against their wills, which would be a torture worse than Hell. Imagine spending a lifetime voluntarily distanced from God only to find yourself involuntarily dragged into his presence for all eternity. The alternative to Hell is worse than Hell itself. It would rob human beings of freedom and dignity by forcing them into Heaven against their free choice. That would be "Hell" since they do not fit in a place where everyone is loving and praising the Person they most want to avoid." Only a loving God would give every human being the choice to love him. God will not force Himself on you because that's what love does, it gives a person a choice to love or not. You cannot be selfish and truly love another person with "ifs" and conditions. The two are like matter and anti-matter: try to join them together and the relationship will explode and disappear as quickly as the universe was formed. To truly love someone means that you love them as equals, not as stepping stones to get your way.
Love Is Not Easily Angered
The eight attribute of love is that love is not easily angered. Anger is probably the fastest emotion we have. All our other emotions can take time to show themselves, but the anger in us can rise so quickly, the words or actions caused by the anger spring out of our mouths and bodies so fast, that we quickly regret what we've done or said. Anger always seems to be the one emotion that we can't keep in check. It seems to be the one emotion we find so easy to use. It is probably the one emotion we all have the hardest time controlling (James 3:4-10).
There are two kinds of anger. There are the kind man uses and the kind that God uses. The kind man expresses is used to tear others down including himself (this is what depression usually is man being mad at himself for whatever reason). God's form of anger born out of love is uses to build people up, or to guide them into a closer relationship with him. Many may ask "How can anger bring me closer to God?" How many teenagers who are now adults have gone to their parents and thanked them for not allowing them to do certain things or to go certain places that may be harmful to the teen. If the teen disobeys the parent, doesn't the parent have the right to discipline their teen for their lack of obedience? And doesn't that parent do it in love for the protection of their offspring? I myself have gone to my father years later and confessed about something I did in the past that I now realize I should not have done. This thing didn't ruin my life, but it didn't help it either at the time I realized what was going on in this situation. I apologize if I am not being my usual transparent self in the issue but I am trying to protect those who were a part of it, even if the ultimate decision was the only one I could make at the time.
God also disciplines those He loves. And like our parents, God also corrects with love. God's anger is not aimed at trying to get us to do things we shouldn't do, but He is trying to get us to live the way we really should. God's way to live brings peace and joy to our lives. When we go our own way as teenagers, our parents try to guide us to also live the way we should, if we want a life full of joy and peace. God simply wants us to have a great life. But this great life can only come if we are willing to let God guide us into that life we crave to live every day. God's anger is a righteous anger. This anger aimed towards His children help us to grow and mature in the Lord. But, as I have shown in the world's point-of-view of love, God's anger toward those who don't know His son, Jesus, is also righteous because God created the entire universe and only He has the right to set the rules for who will get into heaven and for those that refuse to be there with Him.
Love Keeps No Record Of Wrongs
The ninth attribute of love is that love keeps no record of wrongs. Just imagine what would happen if you wrote down every evil that anyone ever did to you. First, what kind of life would that be if you spent all of your time trying to get revenge on all of those wrongs? Second, what would this say to all the people who know you to find out that you would hold a grudge against them every time they did something to hurt you? One way to lose family and friends is to never forgive them for anything that you felt was hurtful, rude, insulting, and so on. How many marriages would end if every time we said a sarcastic word to our spouses? All of them, if there were no forgiveness to be found from either partner.
We must realize that most people that act in evil ways just might be having nothing more than a bad day. We must realize that millions of people were hurt in their childhoods in some way and have no idea that these hurts are still affecting their lives. Most of us may not even know we are acting this way unless someone points it out to us. Still, this doesn't excuse everybody. There are some people in the world that like being rude to other people; they get a joy out of causing others pain, and they know that they are doing it on purpose.
But a loving person doesn't keep a record of the wrong things done to him because he has found that forgiving others brings peace to a wronged heart. We must be very thankful that God, when He forgives our sins through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, purposefully refuses to remember any of them (1 Corinthians 15:3). Imagine if God chose to remember all of our sins; who would ever get into heaven? Why would Jesus have had to die for us on the cross? Why would He have ever had to come to earth in the first place? A loving person is someone who has Jesus in his heart and has been filled with the Holy Spirit. God is love, so anyone that calls Jesus Savior must love everyone regardless of what they've done or said to hurt us. But we also must remember that all Christians are in the process of being made more like Jesus which means that we are in a different place in our maturation process. God changes us gradually, from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18), which means that a Christian will grow more loving as she grows up in Christ who teaches us how to love others no matter what. If you want to save your marriage, resurrect a friendship that has gone cold, or have a closer relationship with your kids, because of wrongs that have not been forgotten, then forgiveness must be a way of life. As God forgives, so must we (Colossians 3:13).
Love Does Not Delight In Evil
The tenth attribute of love is that love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. What happens when we lie to someone we love and they somehow find out that we were lying? What would that do to the relationship? It certainly wouldn't be the best way to keep it together. No matter how small the lie, the discovery of the lie can have huge consequences on all aspects of our lives. We lie because we think that we will never be caught. How many of us actually think that we will never be caught as we are deciding whether to tell the truth and get in trouble, or are deciding that lying will keep us out of harm's way? The main problem with lying is that you have to keep the lie in the forefront of your mind so that you can remember to use it again when that situation you have lied about comes up in conversation at a later date. On the other hand, truth doesn't have to become a burden as a lie does because the truth is always readily available to all who seek for it. It takes a lot of energy to remember a lie, but the remembering the truth takes no energy at all again because it is readily available to anyone who seeks it out.
We all know that we shouldn't lie. It is better to keep our mouths shut than to lie. Even little white lies can become big problems for the liar (Proverbs 12:19/NLT). Simply said, if your wife asks if she looks fat in her dress, it is better to keep quiet than to hurt her feelings, or yours if you tell her the truth that she does. It is best to avoid answering certain questions if they can cause you to lie if the answer will cause pain to those we love. Simply say that you refuse to answer the question on the grounds that you refuse to tell a lie; that way the person can't tell if you are agreeing or disagreeing with what they have just asked. Your answer would then be saying either "Yes, you look fat in that dress" or "No, you don't look at all fat in that dress." Let the one who asks to decide which answer you mean. It's safer than telling them a lie that would cause friction in your relationship, not only with you, but with Jesus as well, who also hears the lie. Lying just gives you one more sin you'll have to confess. Don't forget what Jesus said about telling the truth: (John 8:32).
Love Always Protects
The eleventh attribute of love is that love always protects. Would you die for your spouse, your children, a friend, or even a stranger? Would you jump in front of a bus to keep an old woman crossing the street from being hit? Take a good long thought about this question. There was a woman not too long ago in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who jumped onto the train tracks after a man had fainted and fallen onto the tracks while the train was coming into the station. If it hadn't been for her, and others on the station platform that helped them both up to the platform, they both would have been killed a few seconds later. Why did this woman do this for this man: simply because she loved him. Not as a husband loves his wife, but as one human being loving another person who had value in the eyes of their rescuer. What other person who walked the earth, and who gave His life so that we may keep ours, reminds you of this woman?
Love also protects in other ways. It protects us from lying to each other; from hurting each other both mentally and physically. Love protects us from straying from our marriages simply because it looks like things aren't working out to where we stay in the marriage and vow to work out the differences both spouses feel about their relationship. Love protects our children by teaching them right from wrong and our love for them also protects us from saying things to them that would tear down their lives instead of the positive feedback that would lift them up and give them a great outlook on their future. Our love for others protects us and them from saying or doing things that we would not want done to ourselves. Love also protects us from being judgmental and critical of others. Finally, love will allow us to fulfill God's plan for our lives because it is God Himself who laid these plans for us so that we can show His love to those all around us. Can you think on a person who walked on this earth who protects His own even after He ascended into Heaven?
The love of God protects us in many ways that we can see and in many ways that we can't. The salvation given us by Jesus protects us from God's wrath and gives us a place in Heaven for eternity instead of the Hell we deserve for being continuous sinners. God's love protects us from Satan, who would like nothing more than to destroy you and keep you out of being in Heaven with God at the end of your earthly life. But most of all, God's love protects us from ourselves. Without God's love in our lives we would continually make bad choices concerning all parts of our lives. God's love shown us through His Word, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and through His words in the Holy Bible, helps us to make decisions that would enhance our lives and bring us the joy, peace, and happiness that we all want to have in our lives. If we live in the protection of God's love, we will never again live in the dark days we had prior to knowing His salvation through Jesus Christ, and our future will be just as we have always wanted it to be.
Love Always Trusts
The twelfth attribute of love is that love always trusts. The definition of trust is "an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; one in which confidence is placed" (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). When we trust someone, we are saying that all I have of myself I give to you completely because I know that you will never betray me or hurt me by telling anyone things about me that only you should know. Trust in a marriage is when both partners commit that they will not seek anything outside of the marriage that should be given freely inside of the marriage. Trust between two business partners is when both agree not to tell another business the secrets that make this particular company unique amongst all the rest. Trust is what we build all relationships on. If that trust is violated in any way, no matter how small, these relationships can be destroyed and may never recover from the betrayal. All it takes is one person to betray the trust that has grown between them, and all it may take is one word or action and nothing else. Trust is the one thing we value so dearly, but can so easily devalue by opening our mouths just a little too much. It can take years for trust to build up between two people, but take seconds to destroy.
But when we love someone, we are committed to never telling another soul about our shortcomings and secrets only our spouse or partner should know. Love means that I will never tell anyone else what goes on in our relationship. You can be assured that I will never look for anything outside of our marriage or relationship that only you can give me. Love, as described above, will never allow me to turn against you. If I truly love you then you can be assured that I will protect this relationship by keeping it safe from outside influences. If I truly love you then you can trust that I will never remind you of all the ways you've hurt me or of all the mistakes you have made since I have known you. If you truly love someone, then you always have their best interests at heart. Trust without love is impossible; you can't have one without the other. This is why many relationships end: because you really can trust someone unless you love them. Without love, what holds you back from betraying the other person in the relationship? As humans, trust is very hard to maintain simply because we are always on the lookout for someone to betray us.
Thankfully, God is not a human being, full of doubts, mistrust, and betrayal. Since God is love, and since He created us, He loves us so much that He trusted His Son, Jesus Christ, to go to the cross as God had sent Him to. Jesus gave us a great example of what it is like to trust God with our lives. The glory that Jesus received when He went back to Heaven proved that God will also glorify us when we get to Heaven, if we but trust in Him to get us there. Every word in the Holy Bible contains trust as a real and true attribute. All throughout the Bible, God shows that He can be trusted since every promise He made was fulfilled exactly as His promise had declared it would. God still does this today in the lives of those who call Jesus Savior. We who have placed our trust in God's trust to always fulfill His promises is what makes us love Him and want to do whatever He asks us to do in his plan for our lives. God's love is far above our concept of love. That is what helps us know that God can be trusted with our very lives. His trust and love never fails, just read the Bible from cover to cover and discover for yourself just how trustworthy God really is.
Love Always Hopes
The thirteenth attribute of love is that love always hopes. From God's point-of-view, hope contains all the best of all things. When we place our hope in Jesus, we mean that we are placing our hope that God will do exactly what He said He would do for our lives. When God said that salvation can only come through Jesus, those of us who have given Jesus our lives to lead have placed our trust and hope that this is true, so that we need not place our faith in anything or anyone else. Hope believes the best of all people that they can be the kind of people God wants them to be if they, too, place all of their trust and hopes in the only One who can free them from their sins and give them a life worth living. We hope for a place in Heaven with God for placing our trust in Him. We hope for a better relationship with God because He wants us to be closer to Him in every way we can. Our hopes in God are everlasting and will always remain strong as long as we remain close to Him. But even if we stray away from God, for whatever reason, we know that this hope in God does not diminish in the slightest. Love always hopes, and since God is love, this hope will never die.
Love Always Perseveres
The fourteenth attribute of love is that love always perseveres. What does it mean to persevere? The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary says that "persevere" means "to persist in a . . . undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement." To persevere means that, no matter what gets in your way, nothing will stop you from completing your task, whether it is to complete a project or to become all God wants you to be for Him. This even includes overcoming a continual sin, depression, anxiety, or anything that keeps you from being all God wants you to be. In human relationships, perseverance means that neither of you will leave the relationship no matter what the reason come hell or high-water. No matter how tough it will be to stay together, you both will do whatever it takes to continue to forgive and to love each other whatever the world, Satan, or other people throw at you. You will not separate or divorce each other; you will endure through the pain at all costs.
This is what a relationship with God looks like. No matter what you do, think or say to yourself or another person, God will always forgive you, love you, and keep you. There is nothing you can do, think or say that will take God's love off of you. As the Apostle Paul said in Romans 8:38, "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrownot even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love" (NLT). God's love perseveres even towards those who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, for if it did not, no one would escape God's wrath against evil and the evil things people do. God's love allows Him to give all who are alive a chance to take Jesus as their own Savior from His wrath. Every person who has ever lived, and is living now, is given a chance to find salvation in Jesus Christ. But if you die without accepting Jesus for your salvation, you will not get a second chance in another life. God's love for you will let you choose how you will spend eternity. His perseverance will not allow Him to give you any less than the choice to make up your own mind on whether not to believe that Jesus alone can save you from your sins. God's love perseveres forever.
Love Never Fails
The fifteenth and most important attribute of love is that love never fails. This is one of the most glorious revelations that mankind has ever heard and has possibly experienced. People will fail us, loved ones will fail us, companies will fail us, our mates and children will fail us, but Godly love, when lived out through Jesus Christ, through His Holy Spirit, can be the most wonderful feeling and action a person could ever experience. Loving others, as God loves all men, can be a hard and daunting thing to do. But it can be done when we let the Holy Spirit live Jesus' life through ours. When we become the hands, feet, and mouth of Jesus, we will be able to love others as He did when He walked the earth, and still does today through those who call Him Lord and Savior.
There will never be a time when God will fail you. All the promises of God will be fulfilled exactly as His words say. God is not like man: saying one thing and meaning another (James 5:12); telling you to do something on Monday and then, when Friday comes, tell you that He never told you to do it, and then punish you for your disobedience. God's love will never fail to be truthful and honest; you can count on His love to save you from your sins and keep you from the pit that is reserved for the devil at the end of time (Revelation 20:10). Let's look at a couple of examples from the Bible that illustrate just how much God's love will never fail us.
God is rich in unfailing love and faithfulness.
Exodus 34:6-7a tells us that God "passed in front of Moses and said, "I am the LORD, I am the LORD, the merciful and gracious God. I am slow to anger and rich in unfailing love and faithfulness. I show this unfailing love to many thousands by forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion" (NLT). God told this to Moses just before giving Moses the second set of stone tablets with the Ten Commandments carved on them. God said this scripture even before Moses remarked to God that the Israelites were a stiff-necked people who were wicked and sinful. It seems that God knew what Moses was going to say and beat him to the punch by reminding Moses just who was in charge of the people and that He can forgive any kind of sin no matter how recent or hoe long ago the sins were committed.
God made these statements almost seven thousand years ago and they still hold true today, years later. These scriptures are a promise from God that He will forgive every sin for those who ask for His forgiveness and God has never taken back a promise ever. God Himself proclaims that His love is an unfailing love and that, because of this love, He will forgive all who ask in Jesus' Name. If you know Jesus, then you know the love of God. If you don't yet know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you don't know what love truly is at all, for God's love is not fleeting and conditional as human love is. The only condition God puts on us is that we accept His Son first, and then He will shower us with a love so true and powerful, we will finally see how life was truly meant to be lived: in peace and harmony with all of creation. Don't get me wrong, God still loves those who sin against Him, but only as patient and persevering love that gives each man, woman, and child one full lifetime to proclaim Him as the God of their lives. In this way, God's love never fails anyone at all. We can fail God and each other, but God, who is love, can never fail us. Do you know why: because He promised!
God protects those who trust in His name.
In Psalm 91:14-16 "The LORD says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. I will satisfy them with a long life and give them my salvation" (NLT). This promise of God's has to be one of the greatest promises He has ever made to mankind! In this Psalm, the author declares that God is the protector of His people. These last two verses of the Psalm sum up all that the author has declared by the Holy Spirit. Again, if you know the love of God through salvation through Jesus Christ, then you already know that God has your back, front, and even your sides.
It is amazing all of the things that a believer of Jesus has been protected from in the course of their daily lives. God's protection has saved people from car accidents, trips and falls, even from making bad business mistakes that would bankrupt an individual. We truly do have guardian angels looking out for us, sent by God to keep us safe. How can God do this? Because He has every day of our lives mapped out. Plus, He can see the beginning from the end (Isaiah 46:10), so nothing that happens to us is a surprise. Yes, bad things still happen to us, even to Christians, but God has a plan for each of our lives that will accomplish His great plan for all of humanity (Ephesians 3:6). For those of us who trust in God's love and promises, life is given a purpose that is greater than anything we could possibly imagine (Jeremiah 29:11). For any of you who want to know what God's plan for your life is, call on Jesus Christ to be the Lord of your life, and He will show it to you in His timing. What do you have to lose except a life with meaning and purpose, a life worth living, and the promise to spend all of eternity in Heaven with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? The choice is yours.
Now what about us? How can our love for God be unfailing to him? The entire Holy Bible gives us all of the ways we can live a life pleasing to God. Yes, it will be hard, thanks to the negative world we live in today, but it will be worth every second you spend doing God's will for your life. It might take us the rest of our lives to accomplish, but God has promised that we will one day be exactly like Jesus is (1 John 4:17) if we persevere in our walk with Him into eternity. But remember, Jesus said that, without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Here are the three most important ways that God says that we can show Him how much we love Him.
It will bring me to the Father's love.
God's love pulls all people to Him, though there are those who don't feel this pull for many different reasons. Be it sin or disobedience, or disbelief that Jesus Christ is His Son, some refuse to acknowledge that pull simply because they want to live their lives their way. But for those of us who have accepted the fact that we need God's Son in our lives, God's love helps us to love God Himself. On my own, I can't love God since the human kind of love is fleeting and unsure, so I count on God's love for me to help me see that I love Him, too. We know that we love God by following what Jesus has told us will show God that we love Him. In John 14:21-24, Jesus said that "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." If we obey God commands, which are designed to give us a better way of life, then we show God that we love not only Him, but also His ways that bring us life. In this, we make our home with God through Jesus Christ, who also obeys the Father even today, as He awaits on God to tell Him when to return to take His children home to be with Him forever.
I must love Him with all I have
When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment God gave us to follow, He said in
Mark 12:29-30, "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'" We must love God with everything we have both spiritually and physically. When I realize that it was God who gave me my life and everything I have in it, then it is easy for me to love Him with all I have since it all belongs to Him anyway. Every breath I take is given to me by God, including the last one, since only He knows the day and time that I will die and leave this earth behind.
I must sincerely love others.
Lastly, I know that I love God by how I treat others. I must see all people as God sees them, as lost sinners in need of a Shepherd. How must this love be shown? Romans 12:9-10 tells us that "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." I must put others first, and I must treat them with love. I may not agree with the evil they do, but I must love them as creations of God, and as such, I must love them with the kind of love that can only come from God. In this article, we have looked at love from God's point-of-view through the scriptures in First Corinthians 13, considered the love chapter of the Bible. This is the kind of love we must show others, and we must do it every day. To love others God's way is indeed hard to do. Only with the love from God in us can we do it to perfection.
Copyright 2014 Robert W. Bruno
Coming Next What Is Love? God's Point-Of-View (Part Four) -- Our Point-of-View after Salvation
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION . Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved."
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.