“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).


There are so many branches and degrees of love, that it is easy to lump the love of Jesus in one of these categories.  His love is in a class by itself, not comparable to any other.  When it is classified as the ultimate love to be emulated and applied to the other classes, we are beginning to get the picture.


The greatest thing about the greatest love is that we can harness it to other loves and enhance them to a degree that makes them greater.  Our love is conditional and reciprocal; we love “if, when, because and just until.”  If we don’t receive love first, we might not love at all.  Not so, with the “greater love” that Jesus has.  We love Him BECAUSE He loved us first (1 John 4:19).  Had He waited for us to lovingly turn our hearts toward Him before He showered us with His love, there would be an eternal wait!


Jesus did not suggest that we try to love one another; He gave a commandment:  “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12).  He never commands something that we are unable to do.  Right off, let us realize that He not only tells us what He expects of us, He equips us to do it.

I am always awed at the intricacy of the Tabernacle that Moses built.  God showed him the pattern of the one in Heaven with instructions to duplicate it on earth in the portable tent that would accompany them on their journey to the Promised Land and later was applied to the Jerusalem temple built by Solomon.


The Lord told Moses that He had called certain men and filled them with the spirit of God “in wisdom and in understand and in knowledge and in all manner of workmanship” to construct the Tabernacle and all its instruments of service according to His pattern (Exodus 31:1-4).  You see, God never requires anything of us that He doesn’t equip us to bring to completion.


What does that have to do with His commandment to “love one another” as He loves us?  Simply put, we can’t do it!  We filter our love through our emotions and experiences to go to those who deserve it, who measure up to our standards and love us reciprocally.  So how can we love like God does, unconditionally and aggressively? 

Our human instinct is to just love those who love and benefit us first.  How do we love like God?  When we receive the Love of God, the kind that sent Jesus to the cross to die for folks who hated Him, we are fully equipped to love those who don’t love us, who have injured us in some way and who even wish to harm us.  When we come to Jesus, accepting Him as our Savior and become a born-again child of God, we are pure and blameless in His sight.  When He looks at us, He sees the robe of righteousness He supplied instead of our sinfulness.  He sees that we have been cleansed by the blood of His beloved Son, and we are in fact a new creation who never existed before, innocent as a baby.  Since our new life has just begun, we have the capacity to show love, in kind, like was shown to us. 


We are actually loving others with the love of God which was given us.

“And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad [scattered freely] in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5).

God gave us a task and then supplied the ability and the tools with which we could accomplish it.


One other tool He gave us was the ability to love ourselves.  No, not selfishly, but as a child of God who is loved by Him.  We don’t have to live with the guilt of our past, our failures and missteps.  They are gone!  We are that new creation whose name has been written in God’s Birth Record Book (Lamb’s Book of Life).  That’s why we can love our neighbor as ourselves, as Jesus commanded.  If you loathe yourself, your life of failure, doubts and confusion, you will love others with the same condemnation.  We must be free of our unlovable self and see ourselves as God sees us in order to love others.

Jesus taught that the greatest commandment was to love God with our whole being (because He loves us), “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39).


With an armor of Love like that, we can defeat the devil every time he tries to trip us with the failure of others who demonstrate ‘damaged’ love.  It is true that there are folks that we just can’t get along with no matter how hard we try or how much we love them; and there may be times when it is best to put distance between us.  But we must not let that distance be filled with resentment or hatred, rather with love and compassion, the same that God has covered us with.  Otherwise, the relationship will be a heavy burden to carry around even though we are apart.


Someone asked:  What happens to good people when bad things happen to them?  Answer:  They become better good people.

Human relation equation:

We need to add love, subtract hate, multiply good, and divide between what is good and truthful and what is bad and in error.  The world is not a playground, but a classroom.  Our character develops as we learn how to apply the equation.  If we want people to love us, we have to live so they can trust us.  If we don’t learn those lessons, then we have failed the class.


Rev. John Hagee said: “Human love is of limited, restrictive, selective, compacted capacity.  God’s love, which we have access to, is unlimited, unconditional, all inclusive, free, ever expanding without boundaries.”


“Love cures people—both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.”

…Karl Menninger, M.D., quoted by Harold H. Martin the The Saturday Evening Post.


How do you know if you are loved?  When you hurt someone deeply and they still desire the best for you. 

How do you know if you love someone?  When they hurt you deeply and you still desire the best for them.

Another test of love is discovered when someone puts “the squeeze” on you.  What kind of nectar is emitted?  Is it sweet or is it bitter? 

What defines your character?  Circumstances or people won't--unless you let them.  God wants His love to be the defining medium of who you are, a natural flow from Him to you to others.


“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires, but on what foundation did we rest the creations of our genius?  Upon force.  Jesus Christ founded an empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.”

…..Napoleon Bonaparte

John summed it up:

“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (1 John 3:23).


If we measure the worth of loving God, ourselves and others in the light of eternity, it will all be worth it.  If we fail, wouldn’t eternity be an enormously expensive venture?

Don’t hold back love.  Love God with your whole being and others as yourself.  If you don’t feel loved by anyone else, you can rest assured that God loves you intensely—enough to die for you!  --So, love any way!






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© There's Good News February 2008

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