The Apostle Paul wrote the ultimate chapter on Christian priorities in 1 Corinthians 13. He named three -- faith, hope, and love -- and he concluded, "The greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13). There is no subject so universally written about, sung about, and sought after as love.
Paul reminded the Corinthians that God's love can elevate our lives. Believers can be uplifted by God's love in our marriages, our friendships, and our relationships with the world and with others in the body of Christ. More than making a New Year's resolution to be more loving, Christians need to experience the love of God and then to live love every day of every year.
It would take eternity to explore what biblical love means. But here in verse 13 Paul uses the Greek word agape, which means self-sacrificing, unconditional love. The ultimate demonstration of God's agape love was the cross. The clearest demonstration of the way God loves is what His Son did for you and me: He paid the price for our sins. Scripture tells us that "God so loved (agape[d]) the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16).
This love is not just for us to embrace; this love is for us to emulate. This is the kind of love that puts others first; that chooses to love despite how we might feel; that loves the unlovely. This love is a love based not on emotion but on devotion. This love expresses love to others and glorifies God.
Our culture uses the word love frequently, but it greatly misunderstands the concept of love and overlooks the Creator of love. Too many people adopt a false image of love by misconstruing love as the acceptance of everything. They say, "If you're a Christian, you ought to tolerate everything; forget about doctrine, behavior, or truth." But Jesus was very explicit when He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Godly love cannot exist without truth. And the truth is that the only way to the Father is through the Son, Jesus Christ.
Agape love was demonstrated when Jesus Christ hung on the cross. You and I are now responsible for carrying that message of love to our world. We are also called to live out His loving kindness to one another with personal, sacrificial care. God made the choice to love us. Let's choose to love one another with the love of Christ!
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