“By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” ( John 13:35)
Love is the principle virtue in the Kingdom of heaven. God Himself is love. (1 John 4:8, 13)
Love is the prime motivator behind everything God does. Jesus shared His love even with those who hated Him, taunted Him, and had Him killed. He asked the Father to forgive them “for they know not what they’re doing,” but also, because He loved them. (Luke 23:34)
Understand: We are not talking about a feelings-based love.
We are talking about unconditional love.
The Greek distinguishes agape love from phileo love.
Phileo means “fondness,” what we mean when we say we “love sports”- we have a “fondness” for sports.
Agape love is literally “God’s perfect love.” And it is beautiful in all of it’s shapes and forms.
It means that God’s love is complete, unchanging, and maxed out.
God cannot love you more, and He will not love you less.
It is not based upon your achievements, your obedience, your talents, or even your reciprocity. A little gratitude would be nice, but a lack thereof will not weaken His love.
This is the same way God commands us to love each other.
Love does not change like the weather, hot one day and cold the next.
“Love is patient, kind, hopeful, endurable; never envious, boastful, resentful, rude or arrogant, or insistent in its own way.” (1 Cor 13:4-7)
Finally, pure, mature, agape love, does not fear. (1 John 4:18)
Like a mama bear protecting her cubs, she will stop at nothing to keep them safe. If that means sacrificing her own life in order to save theirs, so be it. Jesus said, “there is no greater act of love than in self-sacrifice.” (John 15:13)
If you live your life with love at the forefront, you’ll never have to announce that you are a disciple of Christ. Everyone will know by the way that you love.