From Where Does Love Come – Part One

“Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.” I Timothy 1: 5                          

Jesus said,     “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God…”

He also said, “…love one another….”

Timothy wrote illustratively of three fountain heads of love. This is the first of two Posts on the subject. This one deals with the meaning of love, and the other the three fountain heads of love. 

The meaning of the word “love” needs to be established before considering its source. “Agape” is the Greek word translated love. It is the selfless, self-giving love of God.  It speaks of full loyalty to God and boundless good will to people. 

Love for God prompts us to let go of whatever we are holding to and latching on to God. Let go and latch on. There is no good in holding on to anything in time of a storm if it isn’t tied down. In the storms of life the only real and sure anchor is Jesus Christ. To love Him means to let go of the unanchored objects offered by the world and latching on to Him.

A baby isn’t born knowing how to love. It is born with the capacity to love, but learns to love or hate by the way the parent relates to it. Perhaps you were deprived of one or both parents who didn’t show you proper love as an infant and loving is difficult for you. There is good news. Along comes the Heavenly Father to show us love and thereby teach us to love.

“We love Him because He first loved us” (I John 4: 19).

Once we love Him and know how He loves us, we are well on our way to knowing how to love one another. He loves us with all of our faults, frailties, and failures. How are we to love others? As He loved us.

Satan subtly wants to divert our love, if not deceive us into not loving. In the intriguing “Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis Satan gives his servant Wormwood advice on how to reduce the effectiveness of Christian love. He suggests dividing a person’s life into concentric circles. The inner circle represents a person’s will. Next is the intellect. Last is one’s fantasies. It is “out there” he suggests keeping a person’s love. The deceiver says to his disciple:

“Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbors whom he meets and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know.”

In other words, it is easy to talk about loving people in other countries or different locales than we. That does little good. In doing so the deceiver channels our love into lakes of unfulfillment.  Jesus said, “Love your neighbor…”