Love has to be one of the most complex verbs of living. Right next to faith. There are layers to love that we have subconsciously created through personal experiences, inherited interpretations, and the embracing of lessons learned through others such as friends and elders. It is so important that we work diligently to remove these layers in efforts to love correctly and freely. I am not at all saying that we should remove everything that we have grown to comprehend love to be. There is wisdom in some of those layers. It is necessary, though, to remove those layers that allow us to refrain from loving each other fully in a biblical sense. The layers that keep us from loving as God the Father and Christ do.
Love is already difficult but loving as Christ does is a whole nother level of difficult. This is only because Christ love demands sacrifice and the complete elimination of self. Traits that are rarely innate. I have found myself in several situations where I just knew that I was loving people fully. Examining those situations now I realize that I was only being kind. While it is good to be kind, kindness is only a characteristic of love. Love is complete only when we add all of the components listed in 1 Corinthians 13. If we lack patience, humility, become irritable, prefer ourselves over others, or hold records of being wronged, just to name a few, then we are not complete in our love. In order to love as Christ did we have to pay attention to the needs of others and actually give them what they need as the Spirit calls us to. We must be willing to make true sacrifices, meaning sometimes you have to go without for the benefit of others. Most importantly we must be willing to sacrifice our lives for the sake of our brethren just as Jesus did if we are ever called to.
12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Continue to offer love but work to make sure your offering is complete. Do this by removing those layers that make you hold back and most importantly do this by making sure you are completely aligned with what God says it means to love. I recommend we begin with loving Him completely as it is only through Him we are able to perfect our love and make it a true offering. We show we love God whom we cannot see by loving those we can see.
1 John 4: 11-12
11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
1 John 4:17
17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
1 John 4:20-21
20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.
There is no entrance into the kingdom of Heaven without the offering of love according to God’s commands. Let us be diligent in making love a complete offering.
I haven’t even skimmed the surface of love. I want you know that love extends beyond 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John. Please take time to exam love in the Word. A simple way to start would be by looking up and reading every scripture that has the word love written in it.