So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
— John 13:34-35
In 1929 (even before I was born), Cole Porter, whose goal in life was to write 1000 hit songs, wrote the music and lyrics for a Broadway show called, “Wake Up and Dream.” It only ran for 136 performances but one of the most popular songs to come out of that musical revue was, “What Is This Thing Called Love?” Frank Sinatra recorded it fifty years later and it became even a bigger hit. It was a romantic song, of course, but it asked a question that almost everyone struggles with at one time or another in life:
What is this thing called love?
This funny thing called love?
Just who can solve its mystery?
Why should it make a fool of me?
Now those are good questions. Like the husband who asked his wife, “Tell me honey, have you ever been in love before?” She thought for a moment and replied, “No, sweetheart. I once respected a man for his great intelligence. I admired another for his remarkable courage. I was captivated by yet another for his good looks and charm. But with you, well, how else can I explain it, except it must be love!”
When you read about love in the Bible, what is your first impression? Romance? Emotion? Feelings? Spiritual? I believe God answered that universal question a long time ago through His Son Jesus Christ, described by the most well-known verse in the Bible (John 3:16). He then told his followers to love each other with that same kind of love. The command to “love one another” or “love each other” is recorded fourteen times in the New Testament. Obviously, it was important to our Lord that those who follow Him be known by the love they demonstrate for each other—a love that others can see.
In the language of the Bible love has only three meanings: unconditional love, warm personal affection, and natural or family affection. Our command, as followers of Christ is first and foremost, unconditional love. The others follow as a result. Jesus gave this example, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Then He demonstrated it by laying down His life for us.
Unconditional loves means we put ourselves aside and prefer others by being kind, compassionate, caring and always forgiving. Yes, it’s a high calling, seemingly impossible at times—especially when it comes to loving our enemies (Matthew 5:44). But we’ve not been called upon to do it by ourselves. You see, the Bible says that God gave us that kind of love at our new birth through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us:
“For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:5).
So let’s share that unconditional love that’s within us dear saints—and in doing so we’ll show the world what real love is like and in doing so we’ll provide the right answer to that age-old Cole Porter question. Maranatha!
To help us walk closer with God and to know Him better