ATTRIBUTES OF TRUE LOVE
"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)
Many friends are usually around us when we have a crown of comfort or of honor upon our heads, or when we have our garments of praise and joy upon our backs, but when we are in sack cloth, in great affliction or in so much trouble, you hardly see those friends. Our friend's response to our outward conditions shows their extent of love towards us.
True love is hard to find these days and even harder to keep. We have to make it through a lot of wrong friends to get to the right ones, and even then it can still be difficult to tell if what you have is real. Just when you start to get comfortable, things can seem to head south. How do we cultivate true and lasting love? How can we tell it’s real, or when it’s just a waste of our time?
There are 5 attributes of TRUE and STRONG LOVE:
1. TRUE LOVE NEVER GROWS OLD
It is not weakened by time, but grows stronger and fresher with time. There is a saying that "Time is a great eater", it consumes all things but Eternity cant eat out true love, either to God or man. True love shall be old, but it never waxes cold nor vanishes away.
Does love ever grow old? No, it doesn't. For love is of God and God does not grow old; So, if God so loved us, we ought to love unreservedly the spouse and friend that He has given us to cherish and to hold.
True love is a holy, endearing principle from God's throne that finds a lodging place in the hearts of His people. We have true love for God when we walk after His commandments and frame our lives after it.
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. " (1 John 4:7-8)
2. TRUE LOVE KNOWS NO DISTANCE
It is not hindered by remoteness of place, love knows no local distance nor any boundaries. A friend in the farthest parts of the world, is as near to real affection, as he that lodges under the same roof, and eats bread with us everyday. Being out of sight shouldn't be out of mind for a real friend.
Distance is a test of love. Many will fail for those who cant withstand it, but for those who can, there's only one answer - TRUE LOVE
"Let all that you do be done with love." (1 Corinthians 16:14)
3. TRUE LOVE IS FRUITFUL
True love is never closed in on itself, seeking its own interests. Instead, love goes out, seeking the good of the other.it does not confine itself to fine expressions and complements. Love without works is dead, and as that faith which justifies, so the love of a just person is justified by work. "Brethren, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:18); that is, let our deeds speak the truth of our love; it is an easy matter to say, but it is a great matter to do or to deed our love. Much love may be expressed by the tongue but actions are the complement of love.
4. TRUE LOVE IS FULL OF COMPASSION
True Love is being afflicted in the afflictions of those we love; it is so far from departing from those that are burdened, that it bears a part of the burden with them; it weeps with those that weep (Romans 12:15), and causes us to remember those that are in bonds as bound with them, and those that suffer adversity, as being ourselves also in the body (Hebrew 13:1-2). Those who are of one heart share (their losses and enjoyments) in what befalls any one.
True love does not make us blind, so that we cannot distinguish between the courtesies and discourtesies of our friends, but it makes us so clear-sighted, that we can easily distinguish between our friends and their discourtesies.
5. TRUE LOVE IS NOT TIME BOUND
"A friend loves at all times" (Proverbs 17:17), He is not ashamed to profess or express his love at any time. He loves his friend in good report and ill report, in honor and in dishonor, (if that dishonor didn't rise from his dishonesty). He is neither ashamed of his friends outward condition. "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (1 John 4:11)
A friend that doesn't love at all times is no friend at all. They love for merely self-ends but pure love will endure and hold out unto the end.
1. We should love as if we were to love for ever; yet in regard of the instability of mans affections, we should love as if occasion might be given us to hate every moment.
2.We must love God as knowing that He loves to the end, that is , without any end of loving; also, we must please God, as if we feared His love might end, or be turned into hatred every hour.
3. We should be willing to please men in all lawful things, as if their love towards us could never end, yet we must love them with the impression that their love may quickly end.
4. We rarely give our friends so much love as we ought but we often expect more love from them than we should. We can never give God so much love as we ought, nor are we able to hope for so much love from him as we should. It is best to give all our love to God and not to expect much from man.
TRUE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST
We cannot be assured of any friend but Christ. Where or whom He loves, He loves to the end. Men are mutable in their condition but more mutable in their affections. They love today and hate tomorrow, applaud today and calumniate tomorrow.
Love is an essential factor that makes Christianity relevant on earth. God outsourced love and demonstrated it for humans to emulate. The Creator allowed his Son Jesus Christ to die for the world for the sake of love.
“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” (John 3:16).
Jesus Christ the Son of God came to earth and operated on the principle of God’s love. He was persecuted for love; lived and die for love! The Savior of the world, championed true love for people in the world to benefit. Christians also have the same obligation to demonstrate the true love of God. In other words, anyone who claims to be a Christian must understand the meaning of true love and demonstrate it.
How can we love what we do not know? How can we love Christ if we are ignorant of His Person, work, character, claims, promises, etc.? We must get acquainted with Him and fill our soul with His love; and be obedient to Him.
True love for Christ is, in every case, the Holy Spirit's work and must be accomplished in the heart by Him. He is the efficient cause of it; but the logical reason why we love Jesus lies in Himself.
Why do we love Jesus? Because He first loved us and gave Himself for us. We have life through His death; we have peace through His blood. Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor.
Why do we love Jesus? Because of the excellency of His person. We are filled with a sense of His beauty, an admiration of His graces, a consciousness of His infinite perfection. His greatness, goodness, and loveliness, in one resplendent ray, combine to enchant the soul till it is so delighted. What a blessed love that binds the heart with chains softer than silk, and yet stronger than steel!
THE LOVE OF MANY SHALL WAX COLD
Jesus Christ forewarns us that in the latter times, "because iniquities shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold"(Matthew 24:21). The abounding of iniquity in those days will make a scarcity of love . When iniquity abounds, trouble wax hot and the true love of many people will wax colder than it was. Trouble is the surest trial of love; and therefore Christ tells us plainly that in times of great public trouble, there shall be little love.
The zeal of many false faith- professors will diminish. Their love toward God and toward the church will “grow cold.” True Christians, even those whose faith is weak, will persevere to the end (Matthew 24: 13). Theirs is the true love, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and it cannot fail (1 Corinthians 13:7). True love cannot become cold because it is sustained by Christ who is able to keep us from falling (Jude 1:24).
Those without the Spirit of God will have a cold love towards man and God in the last days. Paul expands this idea in 2 Timothy 3:1–4 when he describes the last days. The love those people have is not a warm, living love for God and His truth and His people. Rather, it is the love of self and the love of money. Paul describes those whose love for God, Christ, and the saints is only in pretense, not in reality. They do all they do in a religious way from self-love and to selfish ends. Their aim is to gain glory and applause from men or to use religion to gain something for themselves. They do nothing for the glory of God, the honor of Christ, or the good of others.
HOW CAN WE BE SURE THAT THE LOVE WE HAVE FOR CHRIST WILL NEVER GROW COLD?
We begin by examining ourselves to be sure we are truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). If we truly belong to Christ, we can be confident that we possess the love from the Spirit that never grows cold. Then we should make every effort to increase our love:
“This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9–11)
Anyone who intends to make heaven on the last day must demonstrate God’s unconditional love to others. The person must not mistreat others but demonstrate the agape love that God approves.
"If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.( John 14:23-24)
15th October 2020