When you think of the word “love” what does it mean to you? There are all different kinds of love all around us and many different ways to express love too. We love our families, we love our children, we love our spouses, we love our friends, and we also love food. Hopefully, we love ourselves too. There is only one perfect love though, and that is the love of God.
THE DEFINITION OF LOVE IN THE BIBLE
If we look at the dictionary, we find a definition of love. It describes love as an intense feeling of deep affection. What does the Bible say love is? We find a solid explanation of what perfect love is.
“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, and 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 NIV
So if we look at this list of what perfect love is and we look at this verse, we find that perfect love is God, and what is listed in Corinthians 13 is exactly how God loves us as His children.
He loves us intensely, deeply and perfectly.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
1 John 4:16 NIV
As a little girl, I was always dreaming of falling in love one day, and having a perfect fairy tale love. Truth is, that was what the world placed on my heart, and it caused disappointment for me as my expectations of humans to love me perfectly went unmet. This is what I am so grateful for, is that I did receive my perfect fairy tale love, but just not in the way I expected it. I received it through the intense depth of God’s love, which is better than any other love I could hope for.
The love we receive from God is like no other we will ever find on earth, we will always be completely overwhelmed by how deeply He loves us.
GOD’S LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL, IT’S FREE
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:16-17 NIV
I think this verse speaks for itself, “for God so loved the world that He GAVE His one and only son”. Although it was a huge cost to Him, he freely did it to save us because He loves us.
“Yet, Christ paid the full price to set us free from the curse of the law. He absorbed it completely as he became a curse in our place. For it is written: “Everyone who is hung upon a tree is doubly cursed.”
Galatians 3:13 TPT
He paid the price for us, and therefore we don’t need to do anything in order to receive His love and nothing can separate us from it either.
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:35-39 NLT
He made us to love us. We can never do anything to earn or deserve it; there is no price on it. We don’t need to prove anything to God for him to love us. No good deed can give us more of His love and no bad deed can take it away. He loves us even if we’re bad at loving him back. The debt had already been paid on the cross. His love is unconditional.
GOD’S LOVE IS A REDEEMING LOVE
We don’t feel or live in His love because we get hurt along our journey through this life. We get hurt through broken relationships, our own failures, our fears, our sin and our insecurities. These put chains around us and cause a hindrance to us experiencing the love of God.
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
1 John 4:9-10 NLT
God loves us so much that He wants to see us free from this hurt and pain, from sin, He wants us to break these chains so He can freely love us and for us to experience his love for us. This is why He sent His Son to die on a cross for us, to save us from our ways and make a way for us to experience Him in all His fullness.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20 NIV
Sometimes even though we have already turned to Him, we don’t experience the fullness of His love because we limit our perception of just how much saving He did in our lives.
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
Isaiah 44:22 NIV
To live in the fullness of God’s love, we need to understand that because of His love, we have been redeemed. We are no longer the same; we are no longer dead but alive in Christ. His love is a redeeming love.
GOD’S LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR
Fear is unhealthy and it is a lie. I have so often found myself living in fear over many things. I feared losing the people I care about, fearing failure was a big one for me, I feared setbacks in life, and the list goes on.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18 NIV
When we live in fear, we are not living in the fullness of God’s perfect love. This is when we need to seek Him, and allow Him to wrap His loving arms around us and comfort us in this place.
“The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”
Psalms 147:11 NIV
The only healthy form of fear is the fear of letting God down or not being close to Him. He delights in those who put their hope in His unfailing love. Let’s put our hope in Him today, because we have Him we have no reason to fear.
GOD’S LOVE IS EVERLASTING
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
Jeremiah 31:3 NIV
One thing that really comforts me is that God is eternal. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We get to share eternal life with Him, if we believe in Him. God’s love is also eternal, it’s everlasting. If there is nothing we can do to take it away, then there is no end to His love either.
“But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.”
Psalms 86:15 NLT
People have come and gone in my life, friends who have promised to love me deeply, but that love faded at the first sign of trouble. I was left devastated and hurt, crying myself to sleep over it. I found myself so disappointed and not believing I was lovable, or that there was no such as thing as perfect love, whether it be between friends, family or a partner. This weakness was made perfect when I experienced the everlasting love of God. God is perfect and though people in this world may fail us, His love never fails us. He is faithful and full of compassion and mercy for His children. There is so much evidence of this in the Bible and through the many stories of how He has restored, healed, loved, saved and forgiven. These are stories that were documented, if we look around us there are even more stories that continue still today in the lives of all the people around us. He still continues to show His love today and will forevermore in generations to come and in our eternal life with Him.
GOD’S LOVE CHANGES US
“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”
Ephesians 4:21-24 NLT
From the moment we enter into relationship with God, he starts breaking chains and reshaping us. He picks up all our pieces and puts us back together again. We may come to Him broken but He loves us enough not to leave us the same. Our lives have now entered into the Potters hand and He begins His work remoulding us into an even more beautiful piece of art.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV
As we get deeper in our relationship with Him we start to realize more of His perfect everlasting love for us. We start to re-evaluate how we spend our time and our priorities change. We realize our identity and start to love ourselves more knowing that we were created perfectly in His image. We start to feel compassion for others because of the compassion and mercy he has shown us. We find it easier to forgive others, showing them the same grace He has shown in forgiving us. Experiencing the love of God causes an outpouring of His love to others. Our faith grows stronger, our love grows deeper.
“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
John 14:26 NLT
He gives us his Holy Spirit to gently guide us, teach us right from wrong, to comfort us in times of struggle or sorrow, to give us His joy and peace that surpasses all understanding.
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
Seek Him, spend time in His presence and let His goodness overwhelm you. He delights in you. Let His perfect, redeeming, unconditional, everlasting love wash over you and change you forever.