Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
Love is the Foundation of the Christian Life
“All You Need is Love.” That was a hit from the Beatles in 1967. While that may sound like a cheesy cliche, there is some truth to it. Not only do many people have a desperate need to be loved, but many have an innate desire to show love as well. The Christian woman is called to love, not just a husband or her children. Not just her parents or the rest of her family. She is called to fulfil the great commandment, to love God with all her heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love her neighbour as herself. That seems like a tall order, but God does not give assignments without first equipping the individual to carry out the task.
First Corinthians 13 is called the love chapter, for good reasons. The Apostle Paul’s revelation of love is that it is the foundational stone upon which everything else in the Christian life is built. According to Paul, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 13:13) A woman should have faith, in God and in Christ working in and through her. She also should have hope in her salvation and her future with God. And she also should have a love for God, herself and others.
But out of all of these, the greatest, most important virtue is love. Without love, everything else holds no real, eternal value. The Beatles were not too far off. Love is not all that is needed, but it certainly is a vital necessity. But before one can base their lives on love, they first need to understand what it is.
“Love is a Verb.” That was another hit by a Christian band I think in the 1980’s, and the people went wild for the lyrics. Now there’s some truth everyone can bank on. Love is not an emotion or something that is felt inside. Love is an action. Love is shown when a mother watches over and cares for her infant child. Love is shown when a man gets up in the morning and goes to work, no matter how he feels. Love is shown when a parent takes the time to discipline their children. Love was shown when Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross for you and me.
That kind of love is something that is difficult to understand, but the picture is clear: love is not the passive, emotional, warm fuzzies that a person gets toward someone they like or admire. It is an active, daily decision to have a positive impact on the lives of friends and enemies alike. That is what Jesus meant when he spoke those words in His sermon on the mount: “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43)