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God is rich in unfailing love to all who love Him, trust Him, confess their sins, experience His forgiveness, and obey Him wholeheartedly. Love is the greatest virtue. It is the chief fruit of the Holy Spirit at work in and through our lives.

When I’m at a barbeque and spot a bag of original Lay’s, I’m known to walk over, grab a couple, and remark, “I love potato chips!” When I’m at that same barbeque and spot my oldest granddaughter, I’m known to run over, give her a hug, look straight into her eyes, and say, “I love you, Havilah!” Is my love for my granddaughter the same love I have for a potato chip? Of course not!

The word “love” has an extremely wide spectrum of meanings. So, what is “love” according to the Bible?

What Love Is Not

1. Love is not God. Instead, God is love (1 John 4:81 John 4:16).

2. Love is not sex, but couples express their love physically in sexual ways, including intercourse, which sometimes leads to the birth of a child. Biblical examples include (Genesis 4:1Genesis 4:17Genesis 4:25Genesis 29:23Genesis 29:30Genesis 38:2Ruth 4:131 Samuel 4:192 Samuel 12:241 Chronicles 2:211 Chronicles 7:23Isaiah 8:3).

3. Love is not fearful (2 Timothy 1:71 John 4:18).

What Love Is

1. Love is the greatest virtue (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13, especially 1 Corinthians 13:4-8). It is the chief fruit of the Holy Spirit at work in and through our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

2. God is the source of all true, giving, ongoing love. God’s love for us is fully expressed through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16Romans 5:8-10Titus 3:5).

God’s love is also fully expressed by adopting us as His children (John 1:12Galatians 4:5Ephesians 1:51 John 3:1). In both cases, God loves us with an everlasting love (Psalm 103:17Jeremiah 31:3).null

3. “Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another” (2 John 1:6, NLT). Indeed, the greatest commandment’s second half is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18Leviticus 19:34Matthew 22:39Mark 12:31-33Luke 10:27Romans 13:8-9Galatians 5:14James 2:8).

The greatest commandment’s first half is to love God wholeheartedly (Deuteronomy 6:4-9Deuteronomy 10:12-13Deuteronomy 11:13Deuteronomy 13:3Deuteronomy 30:6Joshua 22:5Matthew 22:37Mark 12:30Luke 10:27).

Biblical Examples to Follow

1. Like Job, I cling to God, who loves me and is in control, in the midst of my deepest pain (Job 1:21).

2. Like Ruth, I care loyally for my loved ones (Ruth 1:16).

3. Like Jehoshaphat, I face trials and danger with songs of praise for God’s faithful love (2 Chronicles 20:21).

4. Like Nathanael, I am known by God and loved (John 1:49).

5. Like the Samaritan Woman, I am satisfied because God knows me, loves me, and fills me (John 4:42).

Biblical Commands to Obey

1. I rejoice in God’s incredible love for me (Deuteronomy 7:7-8Psalm 31:7Psalm 59:16Psalm 107:8John 3:16John 15:10-11Romans 5:8Ephesians 2:4-52 Thessalonians 2:16Titus 3:41 John 3:11 John 4:9-10).

2. I love God with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind (Deuteronomy 6:5Joshua 23:11Mark 12:302 Thessalonians 3:5).

3. I love God and obey His commands (Deuteronomy 11:22Joshua 22:5John 21:171 John 5:32 John 6).

4. I love God’s people (John 13:35Romans 12:101 Corinthians 13:8Colossians 1:3-41 Thessalonians 4:9Philemon 4-51 Peter 1:221 Peter 2:171 John 2:71 John 3:11-171 John 4:20-212 John 5-6).null

5. I love my spouse (Genesis 29:20Ecclesiastes 9:9Ephesians 5:25-28Colossians 3:19Titus 2:4).

6. I love my children (Proverbs 3:12Proverbs 13:24Luke 15:20).

7. I love my relatives and friends (Ruth 2:111 Samuel 18:1Romans 12:9Romans 13:8-9).

8. I love my neighbors as myself (Leviticus 19:18Leviticus 19:34Matthew 22:39Romans 13:8Galatians 5:14James 2:8).

9. I love those in need — widows, orphans, the poor, immigrants, refugees, and others who are downtrodden and oppressed (Leviticus 19:33-34Deuteronomy 10:19Proverbs 29:71 Corinthians 13:31 Timothy 5:31 Timothy 5:16James 1:27James 2:51 John 3:17).

10. I hate evil and love what is good (Psalm 34:14Proverbs 11:27Amos 5:14-151 Timothy 6:111 Peter 3:113 John 11).

11. I do not love the things of this world, which are temporal at best (Psalm 119:36Ecclesiastes 5:10-11Matthew 6:24Mark 10:21-22John 12:251 Timothy 6:10Hebrews 13:5James 2:51 John 2:15).

12. I choose to love the Lord, live for Him, and enjoy His rich blessings (Deuteronomy 30:19-20Joshua 24:15Psalm 25:12Psalm 65:4Proverbs 22:6Isaiah 56:4Romans 6:16-19).

Biblical Truths to Affirm

1. I believe God offers incredible, deep peace to those who love Him and obey what He commands (Psalm 119:165Luke 2:142 John 3).

2. I believe God is jealous for my wholehearted commitment and love (Exodus 20:5Deuteronomy 4:24Deuteronomy 5:9Deuteronomy 6:15Joshua 24:19Psalm 78:58Ezekiel 5:131 Corinthians 10:222 Corinthians 11:2James 4:5).

3. I believe God is rich in unfailing love to all who love Him, trust Him, confess their sins, experience His forgiveness, and obey Him wholeheartedly (Exodus 34:6-7Deuteronomy 7:121 Kings 8:23Nehemiah 1:5Psalm 25:10Psalm 32:10).

That, my friends, is what biblical love is and what it looks like in our lives. Enjoy!

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