The Biblical Characteristics Of Love

God’s love isn’t about us at all but rather an expression of His being.

Within the Word of God, there’s a form of love that extends far beyond the scope of romantic love or sexual love, and close friendship or brotherly love. This love is known by the Greek term as “Agape”. God is the only One who possesses this kind of love due to the fact that He’s love by nature (1 John 4:8). What is truly magnificent about this form of love is that it’s both self-sacrificial and unconditional. This love was and is extended to us as sinful people in God’s sight, regardless of our unworthiness to Him.

So to explain that a little bit further, this love even goes far beyond our own unworthiness to God. His love is infinitely greater than our sins. We didn’t deserve to be loved by Him as a result of our rebellion and sinfulness, which is nothing more than us being hostile to God (Romans 8:7Colossians 1:21-23), but He loves us anyway. It’s a love that’s fully dependent on the One who has extended it to us. That’s the area where God’s grace is of great importance. His love isn’t about us at all but rather an expression of His being.  

As a result, as those who have been redeemed by Christ and given that undeserved privilege to share God’s nature through the Holy Spirit are commanded to express that love to others. In this following Scripture, Apostle Paul has given a clear description regarding the intrinsic characteristics of that love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

The very nature of that love is in direct contradiction with what our own carnal nature wants us to do or how it wants us to behave. Humanly speaking, we’re selfish and self-centered individuals by nature. It means that our needs and wants always have to be met first before we can even take into consideration the needs of others whose needs may be much direr than ours. This type of propensity has the potential to keep us from ever expressing the type of love God desires for us to express to others through selfless action.

A lot of time, we see others with great needs, and we feel compelled to do something. So it is God Himself nudging us on the inside to make a difference in those individuals’ lives, but the first thing that tends to run in our minds is that I have to do this or that toward myself, or I have to pay this or that bill first and then I’ll see what I can do later. You see, it always all about us, what we want, how we want it, when we want it, and so forth. 

Since we’re incapable of loving people as God wants us to love them; therefore, in order for that love to flow through us, we have no choice but to allow the Holy Spirit to carry out His mighty works within us by putting to death the very things that can potentially serve as a hindrance. Love has to be about the other person involved in the sense of being willing to meet that person’s need if you’re able to do so.

Love also means being willing to put the interests of others first by laying aside your own personal interests according to (Philippians 2:4). Can you believe that? I bet you cringe upon reading this statement. It’s quite obvious that you and I are not even close to expressing that kind of unconditional and sacrificial love to others in accordance with what we’ve been prescribed to by the Word of God. Lastly, this form of love doesn’t come naturally to human due to our inability to produce it.

How can we make sure that we love people in a way that pleases and glorifies God? Well, we have to lay a hold on the fact that the Christian life is completely based on the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, what He’s willing to continue to do in us, through us, with us, and for us.  Thus, Jesus is fully able to empower us as His followers to love one another as He has loved us (John 13:34). So let’s surrender everything to Him.