“In a child or a flower or a tree we are all aware that when there is no growth there is something wrong. Healthy life . . . will always show itself by progress and increase. It is just the same with our souls.” (Ryle, Holiness, 84)
Sometimes the gravest oversight is made of the mot important Christian virtue: love. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
Love is unselfish
First, love is unselfish. Too many relationships today are sufferig from the same sickness: they are built on the bedrock of selfish expectations. Love, however, isn’t meant to receive form its relationships; it’s meant to give to the beloved. If you and I orchestrate our relationships to serve us, then we’re missing the point of the greatest Christian virtue. If our “loves” only help us, then is what we possess really love at all?
Love is priority
Paul once wrote, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). This verse is more than a wedding Scripture. It’s a verse that places priority above ability, above talent, even above one’s faith in God if one’s love isn’t for that same God. The way we think about God, the way we talk about other people, the way we organize our lives — all of these things should be baptized in love, because love is a Christian priority.
Love is sacrificial
If we learn anything about love from the Father and Jesus, it’s that love is sacrificial and giving. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that he gave. . . .” In another place, Jesus Himself says, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom . . .” (Mark 10:45). Is our love sacrificial? Is our love giving? If it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), are we shying away from hoarding God’s blessings so that we can bless others?
Love is passionate
Although the book of Revelation can be dicey, there are a number of clear lessons found in it. One of the lessons is on the importance of passionate love, especially for God. Jesus says to one church, “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” And to another church, “You are neither hot nor cold” (Revelation 2:4; 3:15). Love, real love, is enduring and steadfast, even in the face of trial. If we’re to overcome mediocrity, we must have passionate love.
Hardly exhaustive! Let’s not forget that, for example, love is costly, transformative, and enlightening. But this is a good time for us to examine our lives and relationships. Are we loving, or do we simply enjoy being loved? Are we spreading and sharing the rich love that we’ve received from God? Or do we act as if we’re the only ones on this planet who actually deserve it? Let’s overcome!