by John & Ruth Greene
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NKJV
Real love is not a fair-weather friend, whether the love of friendship or the love of family. For better or worse in this life, that is where you first learn about love. This experience is what colors your life. Since many of us have never experienced unconditional or safe love, that kind of love is foreign and strange. More and more, the lack of love, even alienation, proliferates in the modern world that we live in. Based on the words of the Apostle Paul, the greatest of miracles produce little or nothing without love, especially if you expect to be blessed or rewarded in some way from a miracle that you want to be worked through you. This is precious spiritual food for thought. Even for a world that ignores the importance of love, the world itself stands to benefit the most from that love, if they could actually produce it.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NKJV
The problem is that the world is confused by what love is. The world has learned to put conditions on love, which is not real love, nor the kind of love that the Bible refers to. That is why so many friendships and marriages are lost in shades of convenience. Relationships throughout the world are colored with issues of trust that people carry. Another problem in marriage and intimacy is that love is often confused for infatuation and lust.
“But I [Yahshua, Jesus] say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:28, NKJV
Of course, this principle works universally among men and women. When love has an improper foundation, it is easily confused and abused. Despite that confusion, love is the most important of human qualities. This attribute comes directly from the heart of your Heavenly Father as you abide in Him, evidenced through unselfish service and commitment to assisting others to trust Him as you do. (1 John 4:8) Trust in YHWH is the foundation of love. Elohim [YHWH] provides all things, so there is no need to withhold love by selfishly focusing that love on self. Belief that Elohim provides is the foundation of faith. Love is the expression of that reality. Trust in Him results in continued spiritual maturity. As that trust comes to a closer completion, immature thinking is put aside until you grow to fully understand through the expression of YHWH’s Kingdom in your life. (1 Corinthians 13:8-13)
Elohim’s unconditional love is directed outward. Human beings often tend to look at love as something that is received, a feeling that you direct at yourself, feelings over actions. In order to experience unconditional love, the disciple of Messiah must have his or her heart cleansed by the Holy Spirit. This act of Elohim helps you to set aside your own desires with the humility of expecting nothing in return. When this humility of the heart is expressed, the heart is sensitized to see the love that really is returned, which further opens up unity in the Christian brotherhood and in close relationships. Unconditional love with the power of the Holy Spirit is what builds up. This outward focused love, through the power of the Holy Spirit is what gives disciples the ability to share spiritual gifts within the body of the Messiah. Most Christians believe that money from jobs and physical resources are the key to empower the love and growth of Christianity. However, this is not an honest-hearted reality. Real love has nothing to do with a basis of worldly things of man’s system grounded in feeling alone. Instead, the opposite is true.
Real love isn’t simply about feeling good. Real love completes or perfects each disciple, even as Messiah made us whole before YHWH. This isn’t mystical or unknowable like many would say. Many preachers go on and on, as if love is a dream. It is not. Love is practical and real, even in this age. It doesn’t judge, but supports into righteousness. That love is commitment grounded through a purified and sensitized heart in each disciple of the Messiah. (“YHWH Loves His People“; “Disciple: Love Instead of Conformity“; “Is Your Love for Others Cold?“; “Marriage: Love is not Easily Angered“)
Yahshua [Jesus] gave us the roots of love through what He said, brought to those willing to listen and believe through scripture:
“In this way, because Elohim loved the world, He gave His only Son, in order that each one trusting in Him would not be destroyed, but even possess everlasting life.” – John 3:14-16, direct translation