Love is the most important character trait. You can’t glorify God without it, and having it can make up for countless shortcomings. So it is critical that we all love better. But how do we truly and deeply love? The only way to answer that question is to examine God's love and attempt to imitate the Master.
1. LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL
God’s love is unconditional. He has infinite love for every person regardless of their race, character, personality, or favorite ice cream flavor. And His love for each person never changes no matter what that person does.
If God loves each person enough to give His Son’s life for that person, who are we to treat them with anything less than extravagant love? How would you feel if someone you deeply loved was being treated or even thought of disgracefully? We must make war against our evil thoughts or evil actions towards any person as we seek to bring joy to God’s heart. This applies to every single person we interact with: The son or daughter who betrays us, the boss who treats us like scum, the most annoying person in the world, etc. There are no exceptions…. because true love is unconditional.
2. LOVE IS RELENTLESS
How far would you go to help someone? Would you allow yourself to be betrayed and beaten and then carry your own 75 pound murder weapon until your strength was gone just to die for a bunch of people who either deserted or hated you? Jesus did.
God never gives up on us. He never stops pursuing us. His love is relentless. Our love should be the same. We should stop at nothing to display God's infinite love to the world, and we must persevere in love, even when it is rejected. Our love will make a difference in countless lives if we love refuse to give up on people and love them, even when it hurts.
3. LOVE IS SELFLESS
When our happiness is in conflict with someone else’s happiness, how often do we choose to let the other person be happy? And how often do we even think, consider, or notice things that might make others happy. Most of us are so caught up in our own goals and desires that we really don’t even notice opportunities to help people. We are self-absorbed, but that is not the way God is.
God notices the pain of every person. He listens to every prayer, and He deeply cares. He went out of His way to sacrifice His Son for the good of people who spit in His face. That is selfless. That is how we should be.
4. LOVE IS MERCIFUL
I can’t imagine how God felt when Adam and Even ate the forbidden fruit. God put his heart into creating Adam and Eve and gave them a perfect life. He blessed them, walked with them, and cared for them with more love than any earthly father. But they chose to betray God, listen to an ugly snake, doubt God’s love, and do the only thing in the entire universe that God had asked them not to do.
Imagine if those were your kids. Maybe that pretty much describes your kids. Even if it doesn’t, we all know what it is like to be hurt deeply. And it’s ok to be hurt. Even God is deeply hurt when people sin against Him. But God chooses to offer forgiveness: true forgiveness and full reconciliation with no strings attached at the expense of His only Son. In light of the price God paid to forgive our eternal offenses against him, holding onto any bitterness is unjustifiable. Forgiving is hard, but true love means we must strive to forgive from deep within our hearts.
5. LOVE IS IMPOSSIBLE
The fact is that our love is not like God’s, and it never will be. But loving like God should still be our goal. The awesome thing is that God allows His love to flow through us when we ask Him to. True love is impossible, but we have a God who does the impossible, even through feeble creatures like us. It’s still incredibly difficult to love deeply from the heart, even with our best and biggest prayers. But a life of love is the best life possible, and it is well worth anything we could ever give up for it.