The confusion of what love really is will result in a faulty confession of, “I love you.” Of all the people on earth the church, or those who have confessed Christ as Savior and Lord, should know the real definition of love. However, even the church has become confused as to the true meaning and reality of love. We have come to believe that love is a demonstration of generosity, charity, or benevolence. But how did Christ really demonstrate the love of God? Was it in His healing the people? Was it in His feeding the hungry or in His defense of the poor? All these accounts of what Christ did in the miraculous, generosity, or benevolence in His generation were wonderful exploits of love, but in themselves did not prove His love to be the real love. After all, anyone can be charitable, generous, or benevolent, so what did prove His love to be the real love and thus set Him apart as the example and standard of absolute love? It is found in the statement Jesus made in Matthew 5:44-48, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you maybe sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
What does it mean to love your enemies? Jesus taught us not only this principle in sermon, but demonstrated it with His life. James wrote, “You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy this world, you can’t be a friend of God” (James 4:4). Again, Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1-5, “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!).”
So you see, we were at one time all enemies of God, not because He did not love us, but because what we desired and pursued was everything contrary to Him and was, in fact, opposing His very nature, a nature we were meant to exist as from the beginning. But, because God loves us, He showed great mercy and demonstrated unconditional love by giving His Son on our behalf. Jesus became the personification of God’s love in the earth, love wrapped in flesh so that in the flesh He might remove the hostile nature of humanity towards God and replace it with the nature and likeness of God by His Spirit through Jesus Christ. Paul writes, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Now, as those who are transformed by love and now have the Spirit of love abiding in us, we are commanded to love as He loved (John 15:12). This love is supernatural in nature because it is the nature of our God being made manifest in and through our lives. “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1John 4:8). When love becomes our nature it is not something that is simply present when we are feeling it. Love isn’t a response to an act that stimulates or evokes it. It is not something that shuts off when someone makes themselves an adversary to us. It is and has become who we are. It is every bit a part of our existence. The quality of our love is tested and proven in the face of adversity, and in the presence of our enemy.
Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
We cannot fabricate this love in our lives; we can only receive it and allow it to posses our lives so that we live this life with His love flowing from our lives. Is the love in your life real love? If it is not, then pray and ask God to flood your life with His love for you so that you have His love for others.