Is Your Love Expanding?
“The only thing that matters is faith expressed through love.”
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more…”
If our love is not growing, emergency alarms should be screeching. God is love. He first loved us. He so loved the world. And all of the commandments of the Bible can be summarized in four words: love God; love others.
Here are four questions, along with a brief note or verse, to help you evaluate and increase your love:
I. Is my love of God expanding?
- This is the greatest of all commandments.
- Love is an action word, not an emotion.
- To love is to do what is in the best interest of the other person (according to God’s perspective).
- We can’t love God with only part of us– we must love God with all of us: our heart, our soul, our mind, and our strength (Deuteronomy 6, Mark 10).
II. Is my love of those closest to me expanding?
- Sometimes the people we treat the worst are those closest to us.
- Paul gave honor to a church loving one another well: “Your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring” (2 Thessalonians 1:2-4).
III. Is my love of stranger expanding?
- Hospitality literally means “love of stranger/foreigner.”
- Before Jesus told the Parable of The Good Samaritan, the Teacher of Law asked, “Who is my neighbor?” But Jesus knew he was asking the wrong question. So he shares the parable (Luke 10) and then reframed the question: “Who is the good neighbor?” God’s perspective is that all people are our neighbors. The only question is if we will be a good neighbor to them.
IV. Is my love of enemy expanding?
- The Sermon on the Mount on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) was the pinnacle of Jesus’ public speeches. And what did he say? “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
- No matter what you say, if you mistreat my kids, you don’t love me. Likewise, no matter what we say, if we fail to love people created in the image of God, we don’t love God.
We are incapable of expanding our love, as God desires, on our own. However, when we receive the unimaginable love of God, our hearts will be transformed and our love will grow more and more.
Can you pause for a moment and slowly soak up this promise?
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).