The Most Ignored Definition of Love in The Bible

Heather Gulgin

Christians are supposed to be known for their love.


Even Jesus says the greatest commandment is to love God!


He says in Mark 12:30,


“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”



So, how do we love God?


The dictionary defines love as an intense affection and warm feeling for another, or strong sexual desire.


Just see Google's definition below

But how does Scripture define love?

Here are a couple definitions based on the Bible:



1) Biblical love is sacrificial


1 John 3:16 says,


“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”



2) Biblical love implies action


1 John 3:18 says,


“Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth”



But perhaps the most ignored definition of love in the Bible is this:

3) Biblical love demands obedience


1 John 5:3 says,


This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.”



And Jesus said in John 14:21,

Thus, we show our love for God through obedience!


When you obey God, you show that you truly love him. 




How might we love God and obey him with all of our heart?

The bible says that our heart is “deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9).


As devastating as this sounds, the good news is that we can receive a new heart.



How?


Back in the time of Ezekiel, The Lord was speaking to the house of Israel and said,


“Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit.” - Ezekiel 18:31



Why do we need a new heart?


In Jeremiah 24:7 the Lord tells Jeremiah,


“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”



We need a new heart because we do not seek God on our own initiative.


The heart God wants to give us is an “undivided heart” (Ezekiel 11:19).


Because we can’t love God with all our heart if it is a divided heart.



Plain and simple, we will not follow his decrees with a divided heart that desires things of this world more than thing of God. 


Back to the question, how do we get a new heart?


The Lord said,

So, we ask for one!


King David did.


After realizing how great his sin was David prayed to God,


“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” -Psalm 51:10



Thus, as sinners, we simply need to ask for a new, undivided heart.



Test your own heart

Let’s get practical.


What is the measuring stick for how well we are loving God?


What are some of the things that God has commanded us to do?


If we are to obey his commands, we ought to know what they are.


We have the Ten Commandments, as well as the second of the “greatest” commandments:

Ask yourself, “am I loving others?”


“Have I been a conduit for Jesus’ grace, love and mercy?”



Remember, you love God when you love others.


1 John 4:20 says,


“If anyone says, I love God, yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God.”



Therefore, if we are to love God, we must love others. It is commanded. And, remember, in order to show our love for God, we obey his commands.



So ask yourself,


Who has God put in my life for me to love?


There may be people you have been unloving towards that need to see God’s love through you.


Or maybe, you have had an overall selfish attitude at work, school, or home.


Ask God to fill you with his love that you can, in turn, love others more than yourself.



If we love God, we will obey his commandments. And what does God command of you today?


That you love others.


So start today.


Pray for a new heart and make your life about showing the love of Jesus.


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Heather is a professor in Sports Medicine and Mom to daughter Izabel.  She is an Ohio native and huge Ohio State Buckeye fan. Heather loves to travel and take amazing photos of God’s creation.  Althought she lives in Michigan, she prefers a warm weather climate.