What Defines Christian Love?

Posted on February 5, 2024

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What Defines Christian Love?

Through the coming sessions, we will take a deep dive on the love the Lord Jesus Christ manifested, the same love He demands that we as believers have one for another. 

Two principal things defining His love are: 

  1. vulnerability (willingness to accept, live with and promptly forgiving hurts)—Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again (John 10:17).  Think about it, no one forced Him to lay down His life as the propitiation for our sins. After our redemption, and as long as we remain in this body, our occasional transgressions He willingly and freely forgives once we confess, repent and ask to be forgiven. The challenge for each of us is our readiness to accept hurts without seeking retribution; and 
  2. unconditional acceptance of the other. Unconditional love is not based on performance. It is freely given not because of any good performance to earn it!  

Listen to Renee Swope’s life story.

Tears streamed down my face as I thought about the guy I had dated through high school and college. Our plans of a future together had crumbled under the pressure of me expecting him to be all I needed. I had been crazy about him—a little too crazy. When I think about the crazy things I did for his love, I want to crawl under a rock. Like the day a friend mentioned that my ex-boyfriend was heading to our hometown for the weekend. We worked near each other, so I parked by his office and waited for him to leave on Friday. We both “happened” to be at Wendy’s at the same time and bumped into each other. When I finished my order, I got in my car and followed behind him, hoping that if he saw my car he’d realize he couldn’t live without me and signal for me to pull over so we could talk. Seriously, what was I thinking? As you can probably guess, he never stopped. I was hopeless and humiliated. Without his love I felt incomplete. A few weeks later, while walking around my campus one afternoon, my eyes drifted to the buildings, dorms, and other landmarks of memories. Suddenly my mind filled with a collage of faces, reminding me of my efforts to win the approval of advisors, friends, and professors—hoping their affirmation could fill my emptiness. Although I was graduating with honors, had a few job offers, and had achieved success in many ways, it wasn’t enough. I stopped walking and just stood there, taking it all in. I couldn’t help but wonder, Why is all that I have never enough to fill me and fulfill me? A thought rushed through my soul, stringing together two words I had never put next to each other, and I sensed God was answering me. Renee, all you have ever wanted is unconditional love. Unconditional love? I didn’t know there was such a thing. Then I heard another whisper in my soul. You will never find the love you long for in anyone or anything but Me. I AM the unconditional love you are looking for. The thought of God loving me without any conditions was inconceivable, yet something deep in my soul told me it was true. I had been looking for love that didn’t have to be earned. Love I didn’t have to fear I could lose. Honestly, though, it took me a while to see how God’s love could fill the emptiness in my heart.”  **Taken from DaySpring

How many of us understand these two principles that flow through every facet of Christian fellowship and marriages? 

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Yet these are the mandatory expressions of that love He poured upon us and put in us for us to show to one another!  

The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:5

When we attain this, it becomes the point of attraction to the unbeliever just as was demonstrated: 

  1. in fellowship as in the early church and recorded in Acts 2:41-47; Acts 4:32-35 and Acts 5:13-16; and  
  2. in marriage as recorded in Revelation 22:16,17.  

Because we boldly declare that it is love that raptures the bride it is important that we test how this is being manifested in each of us in each of these two dimensions. Follow diligently the successive posts. We will start with courtship and marriage. Selah. 

Pastor Afolabi Oladele

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