l John 4:8
"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."
I Timothy 1:5
"All of the teaching we receive is to create love in our hearts, and if we don’t love, we have not put what we have learned into practice. Paul the Apostle wrote the book of Timothy. Paul says that the object of teaching, the result of knowledge, the fruit of one’s faith is “love from a pure heart”. God looks into a person’s heart and if that power, knowledge and works are not grounded in love, they have no value in the sight of God."
There are some things like power, faith and works which are legitimate if based on unseen love within a person’s heart. There are also visible attributes that are unmistakable signs that a person has love:
Patience – a willingness to bear with other peoples’ meanness, weaknesses and offenses without losing a loving attitude.
Kindness – the doing and saying of good.
Not jealous – envious of another’s blessings; fearful of losing one’s blessings.
Not brag/arrogant – boastful, haughty, proud. Having an unjust measure of self.
Not act unbecomingly – to be unthoughtful, uncaring.
Not seek its own – selfishness, self-centered.
Not provoked – bad temper, over-sensitive.
Not count wrongs – vengeful; get even attitude (doesn’t keep score).
Rejoice in right – loves to see right done, not wrong.
Bears all things – capacity to suffer much without complaint (everybody suffers – some complain more).
Believes all things – not suspicious (not a gullible person, but not overly suspicious).
Hopes all things – not pessimistic or negative.
Endures all things – a willingness to bear with injury, inconvenience and hardship without losing one’s loving attitude.
When we see these things in people what we see is the character of Christian love. Note that these signs are not based on:
Emotion – how one feels about something.
Attraction – like sexual love.
Mutual interest and service – like the love between friends.
Relationship – like the love in a family.
No, the love Paul describes here is Christian love, and it is based on a decision not a feeling. We decide that this is going to be the nature of our character…our love, and through the power of the Holy Spirit directed by the word of God – the Lord will create this love in our hearts a little at a time as each day goes by.
We are not born with this kind of love, we cultivate it through prayer, practice and perseverance in the trials that we experience. This is one of the basic reasons that God allows us to suffer trials, so we can cultivate Christian love.
I Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love is the character of Christianity because love is the character of Christ. In I Corinthians 13:8a:” love never fails”. The most significant feature of love is that it is eternal. In I Corinthians 13:13 ” But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Love is eternal (forever). Faith brings you to God, hope sustains you while you wait to be in His presence, but love is the actual experience that one will have eternally when Jesus comes to take us to heaven with Him. We abide in love because Jesus is love and we want to abide in Jesus.