Monday, 19 August 2013

Ten characteristics of Agape love

God is love

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Jesus said to His disciples, "A new commandment I give to you that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35).

 “No force on the planet of earth is greater than the power of God’s love”
Did you know that Deep, meaningful and loving relationships make life most beautiful of all?

Deep within the human heart is a primal desire for love and relationship that echoes the passion of its Creator. These aspirations, that we tend to think are unique to the human spirit, mirror the heart-passion of God, our Creator, who actively seeks intimacy with his creation. This is reflected in His relationship with Adam as they walked and talked together in the garden "in the cool of the day." The effects called fear, guilt and loneliness was first felt when that relationship was broken because of Adam's sin, and there, for the first time, the voice of God was heard throughout the garden, "Adam where are you?" Ever since then, God has sought to bring man back into that cool of the day fellowship with Him.

Therefore the deepest longing of the human heart is to love and to be loved; we know it innately.  Our hearts long for love and we want to love back. But this longing to love and be loved often gets people into trouble because they try to fill that longing with things that simply can’t satisfy. As St. Augustine wrote rightly, “our hearts are restless until they rest in God.”  The longing for love in our hearts is ultimately a longing for God who is love.

How is it possible to say that our longing for love is a longing for God?  A basic philosophical principle is that every desire we experience has a corresponding reality to fulfill that desire.  When we are thirsty, there is drink; when we are hungry, there is food.  No one needs to teach us that we’re hungry or thirsty; we simply know it. The Word of God describes the only love that can ever truly answer this deepest cry of the human heart. It's found in Romans 8:38-39, "Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." There it is - an infinite love. God wants you to experience that love more than you can imagine. Jesus said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. The problem is that we all occasionally make the mistake of misdirecting our desire for love. It is called “Selfish desire” When we attach our desire for God to something finite, and particularly to something harmful, we are left empty and Every earth-love has ultimately either failed you or failed to satisfy you.
But there is a way, however, to taste God’s eternal love in the here and now.  It is through seeking and knowing God. When we open our hearts to God’s love in intimacy, we experience a holy longing to be eternally united with the Lord.  When we open our hearts to receive His love, our capacity to love Him and others expands. The Bible tells us that "God is Love" (1 John 4:8). So, what does it mean that God is love? Love is an attribute of God. Love is a core aspect of God’s character, His Person. God’s love is in no sense in conflict with His holiness, righteousness, justice, or even His wrath. All of God’s attributes are in perfect harmony. Everything God does is his passion of love towards mankind, just as everything He does is just and right. God is the perfect example of true love.

There are three unique characteristics revealed to us in the Bible concerning the nature of God. First, "God is spirit" (John 4:24). The very word spirit also means “breath,” and breath is the evidence of life. Throughout Scripture He is called the living God. Paul said “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”, Second, God is light (1 John 1:5), which is the opposite of "darkness." In Scripture "darkness" stands for sin, evil, death; ignorance and "light “stands for holiness, goodness, life, knowledge. Martin Luther rightly labeled Satan "the prince of darkness." God is light, means that He is the sum of all Excellency. Third, "God is love" (1 John 4:8). It is not simply that God "loves," but that He is Love itself. Love is not merely one of His attributes, but His very nature.

Everything about God is infinite. His essence fills heaven and earth. His wisdom is boundless, for He knows everything of the past, present and future. His power is immeasurable, for there is nothing too hard for Him. So His love is without limit. There is a depth to it which none can fathom; there is a height to it which none can scale; there is a length and breadth to it which defies measurement, by any creature-standard. Beautifully is this intimated in Ephesians 2:4: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,”: the word "great" there is parallel with the "God so loved" of John 3:16. It tells us that the love of God is so transcendent it cannot be estimated. No tongue can fully express the infinitude of God’s love, or any minds comprehend it: it "surpasses all knowledge" Eph. 3:19). The most extensive ideas that a finite mind can frame about Divine love, are infinitely below its true nature. The heaven is not so far above the earth as the goodness of God is beyond the most raised conceptions which we are able to form of it. It is an ocean which swells higher than all the mountains of opposition in such as are the objects of it. It is a fountain from which flows all necessary good to all those who are interested in it.

Friends Since our greatest needs as human beings are to be loved. We all need God’s love. We need to know that somebody truly loves and cares about us, wants us, and accepts us unconditionally.  When a child feels that he or she is not loved, they may develop an unacceptable behavior patterns to compensate for it. For example, they may act irresponsibly in a desperate attempt to get others attention. Attention is a poor substitute for love but it seems better than nothing at all. They may develop physical symptoms that bring them sympathy and concern. The symptoms cause them genuine pain, but the pain of sickness is more bearable than the pain of admitting that nobody cares. We all need to know that somebody loves us.

How does we Define Love?

There is much confusion today on the subject of Love because we are limited to only one English word with a broad range of meanings. Love is misunderstood and perverted subject. Love as taught in the Bible is not simply a sentiment, platitude, or indefinable emotion. Most of the people who say they love you may just be tolerating you. The rest of them probably have ulterior motives. If it is one thing that the world needs now is a genuine love. Most often, love is confused with infatuation - that elated, "high" feeling we get when we "fall in love." This kind of "love" is something that lasts typically for a temporary period, and unless replaced by true love, results in broken relationships. 

Four Greek words
There are four words in the Greek language that are used for love. But only one word for love in English. As numerous scholars have researched and discussed, the Greeks have identified four kinds of love. Those four kinds of love are an attempt to describe the different motives for love. So let us reflect on the excellence of love; marvels of love; presence and absence of agape love; and love, misdirected and rightly directed. Those four kinds of love are an attempt to describe the different motives for love.

First is “Eros love” Eros – stands for passionate, sensual, longing, sexual, romantic love. It is simply pleasure of the flesh. From Eros we have the word erotica. Eros is the kind of love mostly known by the world. It seeks to satisfy only the individual senses and is limited in scope. Eros is the only kind of love that God restricts to a one-man, one-woman relationship within the bounds of marriage.

 Second is “Philio love” phillio generally refers to affection between friends. From this word we have Philadelphia, the “Brotherly Love.” This also motivated by self-interest, and self-gratification. Philia has a wider scope − though natural, the love expressed may be conditional as that among family, friends and neighbors. Phileo simply means friendship or companionship. This manifests in human relationship. This is not to be confused with a man and woman cohabiting without marriage. Cohabitation is not God’s plan, marriage is. Most friendships are built around Phileo. It is something you see in someone that attracts you to be his or her friend. For every marriage there is something in your companion which is attractive. That is what you need to discover. When you do, your spouse will become your best friend.

The third word used for love is “storge,” which is family love. Storge love is the natural bond between mother and infant, father, children, and kin. This is no more a physical show of affection. In Storge is found care and concern for the person or people loved. This applies also to pets and objects. This kind of love is shown at:   The time of defeat and victory, the time of failure or success, the time of sickness or in good health, the time of sadness and joy, the time of achievement and disappointments.

The Fourth Greek word for love is AGAPE - that love which seeks only the highest good of others. The meaning of this word for love stands in sharp contrast to that of the other three words. This word alone points to a completely self-sacrificing love, a love that lacks self-interest, self-gratification and self-preservation. Agape love is motivated primarily by the interest and welfare of others. The word agape is used very sparingly by Greek secular writers, but in the New Testament, agape is the Greek word most frequently used for the love for God.  Bible also used this word to describe the love of God for humanity.  This love is eternal and ideal between two people.

Love is an attribute of God

It is God’s standard of love for you. Never accept any lesser way of loving. You are to love without counting the price. You are to love unconditionally. You are to love people who deserve no love. Yes, this is God’s standard. Among the kinds of love, Agape is the kind of love God demands from every one and in particular the husband to his wife and from the wife to her husband. (Ephesians 5:25)This is the only kind of love required to hold couples together until death. Agape love is unique and is distinguished by its nature and character. Agape has to do with the mind and will. It is not an uncontrolled reaction of the feelings and emotion, but a concentrated exercise of the will. It is a caring love one which becomes involved with the need of others. It begins with the God of love.

The Bible tells us that "God is Love" (1 John 4:8). So, what does it mean that God is love? Love is an attribute of God. Love is a core aspect of God’s character, His Person. God’s love is in no sense in conflict with His holiness, righteousness, justice, or even His wrath. All of God’s attributes are in perfect harmony. Everything God does is his passion of love towards mankind, just as everything He does is just and right. God is the perfect example of true love. Amazingly, God has given those who receive His Son Jesus as their personal Savior the ability to love as He does, through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is why John says that “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  (1 John 4:8)But how can we even begin to understand that truth? There are many passages in the Bible that give us God's definition of love.

Love is one of the warmest words in the English language, and that God is love is one of the most sublime, uplifting, and reassuring truths known to mankind. Love is His nature. It is not merely a friendly attitude He projects. It is the essence of His being. He is always going to act toward us in love because He cannot do otherwise. Love is the way He is. No one attribute of God is any more important than any other, and all His attributes are expressed in conjunction with each other. Yet we believe that love may be the most powerful motivating force in all of God’s being. It deeply affects everything else God is and all that He does. Knowing God’s love could well be the believer’s key to a well-balanced, satisfying life of peace, productivity, and power. It would be rather presumptuous to assume that we can exhaust the subject of God’s love in one brief section but let us try to scratch the surface and begin to explore this fathomless truth. God’s love is unique, universal, unmerited, and personal. It’s saving, sacrificial and giving yet requiring only one thing.

 The greatest expression of God's love is communicated to us in gospel of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  Romans 5:8, proclaims the same message: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Another great verse about God's love is found in
“1 John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
God wants us to know that His love is unconditional, so He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us while we were still unlovable sinners.  We didn't have to make any promises to God before we could experience His love. His love for us has always existed, and because of that, He did all the giving and sacrificing long before we were even aware that we needed His love. So one way God defines love is in the act of giving. However, what God gave was not a mere gift-wrapped present; God sacrificed His only Son so that we, who put our faith in His Son, will not spend eternity separated from Him. This is an amazing love, because we are the ones who choose to reject God, yet it's God who mends the separation through His intense personal sacrifice, and all we have to do is accept His gift. 

 Scripture shows that God made agape love a law. He made it a law because He could not trust us to do it ourselves. He stated to His disciples, “This is my commandment that you love one another…” (John 15:12). A command is not debatable because it is Eternal principle, and our duty. Duty is absent of feelings. In other words, we think that love has to do with feelings. However, the love that Jesus commands us to have is one that is above feelings. In other words, in the Kingdom of God, the law is that you ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind ‘Love your neighbor as yourself “his is the greatest commandment to obey. 

Agape refers to unconditional love. Therefore, if anyone attaches conditions or reasons to why he or she loves you, then agape, unconditional love has ceased. Wherever there is a reason, there is a condition. Wherever there is a condition, there is expectation. 99% of all the problems in relationships have to do with expectation. Expectation guarantees disappointment. Disappointment leads to division, which leads to divorce. Divorce can take place in any type of relationship and not just marriage. Therefore, we need agape love, which is love without reason or condition.

Let us further consider the ten unique characteristics of Agape love.

1.  God’s Love is unselfish

“Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)

God’s love is not self-seeking. It is giving without expecting any self-gain. It does not seek its own (NASB); does not demand its own way (NLT); isn’t always “me first” (Message); not selfish (NCV). Sincere Faith and unselfish Love in the individual are the most important result of a love relationship with God. Unselfish love is what the journey of faith produces.

 Most of the people who say they love you may just be tolerating you. The rest of them probably have ulterior motives. As humans, we do things for others so that we can get things done for us. If it is one thing that the world needs now is a big dose of genuine love.

Love involves action. Bible says “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (I John 3:18) .It is expressed in the giving of oneself for the good of another, so it always demands an object. Whenever we talk about love we are suggesting that there is more than one person involved. There must be at least two—the one who loves and the one who is loved. If God has always been love and love demands an object, we may wonder how God demonstrated His love before He created angels or men. Jesus answered that question. He revealed that there was a love relationship between the persons of the triune Godhead from eternity past, when He said to His Father, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (John 17:24). We have seen that God is complete and sufficient in and of Himself. He has no needs which must be met by others outside Himself. He did not need to create other beings in order to express His love. It was perfectly expressed between the persons of the Trinity from all eternity.

Yet He did create. Why? He wanted so much to manifest His love that He first created the angelic hosts and later the human race so that he might communicate Himself to them, give of Himself for them, and bestow His very best on them for their benefit and blessing. Our love is often selfish and demanding. God’s love is pure and unselfish. Because He is love, He loves to give. Jesus said He gives good things to those who ask Him (Mathew 7:11). James went so far as to say that every good gift finds its source in Him (James 1:17). Since God is love, we can expect Him to give of Himself. Romans 8:32 says”He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”  Knowing the God of love can help to make us more loving and giving persons. Not only will getting to know Him more intimately cause us to become more like Him, but resting secure in the assurance that He loves us will keep us from making demands of others and free us to reach out unselfishly and minister to them for their benefit alone. It is vitally important that we understand how much God loves us.

2. God’s Love Is Unconditional

God's love for you is unconditional and undeserved. He loves you in spite of your disobedience, your weakness, your sin and your selfishness. He loves you enough to provide a way to abundant, eternal life. From the cross Christ cried out, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing." If God loved those who are sinners that much, can you imagine how much He loves you -- His child through faith in Christ and who seeks to please Him?

Paul gives us an excellent description:

Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.

One of the most amazing things about God’s love is that it is extended to us when we do not deserve it and continues steadfast and strong even when we do not respond to it. In other words, His love is unconditional. That certainly is different from our love. We have a tendency to show more love to the people who obviously love us and less love to the ones who do not. We express our love to our spouses and our children when they perform to our expectations and we withhold it from them when they displease us.

God is not like that. The best-loved verse in the Bible says, “For God so loved the world,” that is, the whole world. That does not refer to the materials out of which our planet is constructed, but to the world of people. It does not mean the whole mass of humanity generally; it refers to each individual sinful person. The Bible categorizes all of them as God’s enemies, people who have willfully set themselves against Him (cf. Romans 5:10; Colossians 1:21). God even loves His enemies—all of them.

There is not one good thing in any of us that merits God’s love. He does not love us because we are so lovable or because we can somehow make ourselves worthy of His love. We are totally unworthy, yet He prizes us highly and showers His very best on us. It is His love for us that gives us our worth. God finds great delight and receives great glory when we respond to His love, enter His fellowship, and do His will. In fact, He made us for that purpose. But whether or not we ever return His love, He keeps on extending it to us. There is nothing we can do to make Him love us anymore, and nothing we ever do will cause Him to love us any less. He loves us perfectly and completely regardless of how we perform. His love is unconditional.

God is Love, and His love is very different from human love. God's love is unconditional, and it's not based on feelings or emotions. He doesn't love us because we're lovable or because we make Him feel good; He loves us because He is love. He created us to have a loving relationship with Him, and He sacrificed His own Son (who also willingly died for us) to restore that relationship.

Paul prayed that the believers in Ephesus would be able to comprehend the length, width, depth, and height of God's love. He desired that they know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, so that they would be filled with the fullness of God (Eph 3:16-19). The wide expanse of God's love has been the theme of the gospel throughout the ages, for to know His love is to know Him. Therefore, any consideration of His love is highly important and must be based upon His revelation of Himself rather than upon the imagination of men.

Our love is not only conditional, it is also mercurial. We love based on feelings and emotions that can change from one moment to the next. Can anyone really comprehend "unconditional" love? It seems the love that parents have for their children is as close to unconditional love as we can get without the help of God's love in our lives. We continue to love our children through good times and bad, and we don't stop loving them if they don't meet the expectations we may have for them. We make a choice to love our children even when we consider them unlovable; our love doesn't stop when we don't "feel" love for them. This is similar to God's love for us, but as we shall see, God's love transcends the human definition of love to a point that is hard for us to comprehend.

So many of us are performance oriented. We have felt approved and accepted when we have performed to someone else’s satisfaction, and disapproved and rejected when we have failed to live up to their standards. Consequently, we treat others the same way. If they please us, we treat them kindly and considerately. If they displease us, we feel justified in treating them unkindly and unlovingly. Knowing God intimately will help us express love to others when they do not perform to our expectations. God loves us when we’re feeling as though nobody in the whole world loves us. He loves us even when we don’t like ourselves. He never stops loving us. Because His love is Unconditional

If God’s love is absolutely unconditional, why do we tell people that they have to repent and have faith in order to be saved? God sets forth clear conditions for a person to be saved. There can be no talk of reconciliation without first establishing that there is some prior alienation. The biblical concept of reconciliation presupposes a condition of separation between God and man. The Bible says we are God’s enemies by nature. This enmity is expressed in our sinful rebellion against Him. The common contemporary view of this is that we are estranged from God, but He is not estranged from us. The enmity is all one sided. The picture we get is that God goes on loving us with an unconditional love while we remain hateful toward Him.

Yes, the cross occurred because God loves us. His love stands behind His plan of salvation. However, Christ was not sacrificed on the cross to placate us or to serve as propitiation to us. His sacrifice was not designed to satisfy our unjust enmity toward God but to satisfy God’s just wrath toward us. The Father was the object of the Son’s act of propitiation. The effect of the cross was to remove the divine estrangement from us, not our estrangement from Him. If we deny God’s estrangement from us, the cross is reduced to a pathetic and anemic moral influence with no substitutionary satisfaction of God.

In Christ, the obstacle of separation is overcome, and we are reconciled to God. But that reconciliation extends only to believers. Those who reject Christ remain at enmity with God, estranged from God, and objects both of His wrath and of His abhorrence. Whatever kind of love God has for the impenitent, it does not exclude His just hatred and abhorrence of them, which stands in stark contrast to His redeeming love.

3. God's Love is Steadfast and unchangeable

Nothing changes God's love for His children.There are three things that remain -- faith, hope, and love -- and the greatest of these is love

In a world of frequent and often disturbing, even devastating, change, it is the believer's great comfort that he knows and serves the unchangeable God. “I am the LORD, I change not” (Mal. 3:16). “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens He never changes or casts a shifting shadow" (James 1:17),

If you study the Bible you will find that the love of God is unchangeable. Many who loved you at one time have perhaps grown cold in their affection, and turned away from you: it may be that their love is changed to hatred. It is not so with God. It is recorded of Jesus Christ. John 13:1 furnishes a beautiful illustration. That very night one of the apostles would say, "Show us the Father"; another would deny Him with cursings; all of them would be scandalized by and forsake Him. Nevertheless " "having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end" (John 13:1). " The Divine  Love is as powerful as death;  passion is as strong as death itself. It bursts into flame and burns like a raging fire. Water cannot put it out; no flood can drown it. But if any tried to buy love with their wealth, contempt is all they would get." (Song of Solomon. 8: 6, 7). Nothing can separate from it: Romans 8:35-39.
"His love no end nor measure knows,
No change can turn its course,
Eternally the same it flows
From one eternal source."

God's love is not like man's love. God's love does not change, ever, under any circumstances or conditions. Having loved us from eternity, he will never call back his love in time. There is nothing we can do to destroy, or even lessen, the love of God for us (John 13:1). We did nothing compel God to love us; and we can do nothing to repel God's love. The love of God is not dependent upon, or regulated by our condition (Mal. 3:6).
He knew that one of His disciples would betray Him; yet He loved Judas. He knew that another disciple would deny Him, and swear that he never knew Him; and yet He loved Peter. It was the love which Christ had for Peter that broke his heart, and brought him back in penance to the feet of his Lord. For three years Jesus had been with the disciples trying to teach them His love, not only by His life and words, but by His works. And, on the night of His betrayal, He takes a basin of water, girds Himself with a towel, and taking the place of a servant, washes their feet: He wanted to convince them of His unchanging love.

We have another passage more wonderful still in John 17:23. " I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” This is one of the most remarkable sayings that ever fell from the lips of Jesus Christ. There was no reason why the Father should not love Him. He was obedient unto death; He never transgressed the Father's law, or turned aside from the path of perfect obedience by one hair's breadth. It is very different with us; and yet, notwithstanding all our rebellion, disobedience and foolishness, He says that if we are trusting in Christ, the Father loves us as He loves the Son. Marvelous love! Wonderful love! That God can possibly love us as He loves His own Son seems too good to be true. Yet that is the teaching of Jesus Christ.

It is hard to make a sinner believe in this unchangeable love of God. When a man has wandered away from God he thinks that God hates him. We must make a distinction between sin and the sinner. God loves the sinner; but He hates the sin. He hates sin because it mars human life. It is just because God loves the sinner that He hates sin.

4. God’s Love Is Unfailing

God's love is not only unchangeable, but unfailing. In Isaiah 49:15, 16 we read:
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."
Now the strongest human love that we know of is a mother's love. Many things will separate a man from his wife. A father may turn his back on his child; brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies; husbands may desert their wives; wives, their husbands. But a mother's love endures through all. In good repute, in bad repute, in the face of the world's condemnation, a mother loves on, and hopes that her child may turn from his evil ways and repent. She remembers the infant smiles, the merry laugh of childhood, the promise of youth. Death cannot quench a mother's love; it is stronger than death.

You have seen a mother watching over her sick child. How willingly she would take the disease into her own body if she could thus relieve her child! Week after week she will keep watch; she will let no one else take care of that sick child.

Can you imagine loving someone as hard as you can, regardless of how many times they may have hurt your feelings or let you down time and time again? Would you still love that individual if the only time that you heard from him was when he needed something? Better yet, can you entertain the notion of loving someone who doesn’t even know you at all? Yes, God’s love is unfailing. Never underestimate His awesome power. Never forget His unfailing love. Never think that the things that you do for Him and His Kingdom go unnoticed. Never take your eyes off of Him; He never takes His eyes off of you. Never. “Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his faithful love lasts forever!” Psalm 107:1

5. God’s Love Is Immeasurable and  unending

God says in Jeremiah 31:3    “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

That everlasting love reaches into eternity past. He knew us and loved us before He made us, when we were but a thought in His mind. And He will love us for eternity to come, for, as Paul assured us, nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39). The love of an eternal God must be an eternal love.

If anybody ever deserved to forfeit the love of Christ it was His earthly disciples. They were men of immeasurable spiritual privileges, yet they displayed an amazingly small degree of spiritual insight. Witness their behavior on the evening of the last Passover. The impending ordeal of bearing the world’s sins was weighing heavily on the Lord’s heart and He longed for their prayerful support. But Luke informs us that they were more interested in arguing about which one of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24).

None of them even extended the common social courtesy of the day by washing the others’ feet when they entered the room for dinner. They probably were too busy competing for the seats of honor near the Lord. Later three of them fell asleep when they were supposed to be praying, all of them deserted the Lord when He was taken captive, one of them denied Him, and another one later doubted Him. Notice how this upper room episode began: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). To the end of what? Who can really say? He will love us to the end of our waywardness and wanderings. He will love us to the end of our deepest need. He will love us to the end of our lives, to the end of time, to the farthest extremity of eternity. He will love us forever. His love is eternal.

How can we ever exhaust the love of God! The love of an infinite God must be infinite love. Paul called it a love that “surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19), far greater than our finite minds can grasp. He also called it a “great love” (Ephesians 2:4). He referred to its breadth, its length, its depth, and its height (Ephesians 3:18), but it is obvious that he was speaking of dimensions that defy measurement: breadth and length which encompass the whole world, a depth which reaches to the lowest sinner, a height which exalts us to the loftiest Heaven. God’s love has no limit.

6. God’s Love is Perfect and Holy

God’s love is not regulated by feeling or sentiment, but by principle. Just as His grace reigns not at the expense of it, but "through righteousness" (Rom. 5:21), so His love never conflicts with His holiness. "God is light" (1 John 1:5) is mentioned before "God is love" (1 John 4:8). God’s love is no mere amiable weakness, or effeminate softness. Scripture declares, “because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”" (Heb. 12:6). God will not wink at sin, even in His own people. His love is pure, unmixed with any maudlin sentimentality.
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” I John 4:12

The Love of God is a perfect and pure. It is not like the imperfect human love. It would be vain to search for perfect and holy love in any human relationship. There would always be flaws and disappointments in human love. The only place to find perfect love is in the Love of God. It is only in God’s love that the perfections of Love can be experienced. “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in “him: (I John 2:5)

When some people hear that God’s love is self-giving, sacrificial, unconditional, eternal, and infinite, they get the idea that it is merely soft, sloppy sentimentality, that God is an indulgent Father who gives us everything we want and conveniently turns His head the other way when we sin. But that is not the case. Everything God does is done in the totality of His being, so His love must always be consistent with His other attributes. Since God is holy, then His love must be a holy love that encourages holiness in those loved. The evidence is overwhelming! For example, in the same context in which Paul explains that we in love were predestined unto the adoption of sons, he states God’s purpose for choosing us. It is “that we should be holy and without blame before Him” (Ephesians 1:4). Love and obedience consistently go together in Scripture: “For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1John 5:3; cf. also John 14:15; 15:10).

God will use every loving means at His disposal to encourage our obedience. He does that because He loves us. We discussed discipline when we studied God’s holiness, but we cannot overlook it here. The writer to the Hebrews encouraged us not to regard God’s discipline lightly. It is the evidence of His love for us (Hebrew 12:5-6). He knows that obedience to His Word will be for our greatest happiness, so He takes steps to help us want to obey Him. If He did not love us, He would not care about our happiness.

What kind of loving parents would we be if we let our children do anything they pleased, such as put their hands in the fire, ride their tricycles on the freeway, or play superman on the roof of the house? The society would probably declare us to be unfit parents. Our love constrains us to discipline in order to insure the kind of behavior that will bring our children future happiness. And that is exactly what our loving heavenly Father does.

He does not enjoy inflicting pain any more than we do. Before my father spanked me as a child, he used to say, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.” That was difficult for me to believe at the time, and I never understood it until I became a parent myself. Then it became all too clear. It wasn’t my hand that hurt; it was my heart. God says the same thing. Concerning His people, “In all their affliction He was afflicted” (Isaiah 63:9). He feels our pain because He loves us. Don’t chafe under His disciplinary hand. He knows best what we need, and He always administers it in love for our best interests. We can respond to His holy love by bringing our lives into conformity to His Word. Bible says “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

7. God’s Love is Caring and Cheering

“I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. “Hosea 11:4
Throughout generations, parents have cared for their children, doing their best to provide an enriched environment. Parents want their children to achieve great success and, ultimately, happiness. Even in their old age, parents are delighted to hear their children have accomplished something wonderful for themselves, the fruit of their lifetime of sacrifice. The love and favor of our heavenly father are inseparable. This is clearly brought out in Romans 8:32-39. What that love is from which there can be no "separation," is easily perceived from the design and scope of the immediate context: it is that goodwill and grace of God which determined Him to give His Son for sinners. That love was the impulsive power of Christ’s incarnation: "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). Christ died not in order to make God love us, but because He did love His people, Calvary is the supreme demonstration of Divine love. Whenever you are tempted to doubt the love of God, go back to the cross of Calvary.

Some children would give everything they have for someone who loves them and cares enough for them to set limits on their behavior and administer loving discipline when they violate those limits. That would mean more to them than all the material things in the world because it is the evidence of true love, and true love brings security and comfort. They know that someone who loves them enough to endure the unpleasantness of administering discipline will do everything in his power to take care of them, and that brings them genuine consolation. When we grasp the reality of God’s love, we will no longer seek our security in jobs, bank accounts, investments, houses, husbands, wives, friends, or health. We will rest in the Lord, free from all fear, secure in the assurance that He is going to provide all that we need and protect us from everything that will not be for our good.

Listen to the Apostle John again: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love” (1 John 4:18). God never punishes His children. He laid all the punishment for our sins on His Son. He disciplines us in love for our benefit, but even that is nothing to be afraid of. Understanding God’s love eliminates all fear—fear of God’s discipline, fear of what tomorrow holds, fear of losing a loved one, fear of losing a job, fear of natural catastrophes, fear of global war, fear of suffering, fear of death, fear of being alone, fear of rejection. God loves us! There is nothing to fear. His love is comforting, caring and cheering.
8. God’s Love is influential and Life-Changing
No one can have an intimate relationship with God and remain unchanged. As we begin to understand who He is, our love for Him grows and motivates us to radical obedience. Our experiences with Him teach us that He is faithful and can be trusted. Recognition of the wisdom and goodness of His plans prompts willing submission to His leadership. And before long, time spent with Him becomes the best part of each day. Instead of watching the clock, we’ll want to stay longer because His presence satisfies our souls as nothing else can.

 This kind of passion for the Lord is contagious and influences others. My mother was a very prayerful woman who knew God intimately.  She used to get up very early morning 4 a m   for prayer and bible reading, her love and deep desire to know the Lord captured my heart and shaped the direction of my life from my childhood. I didn’t change overnight, but today the most powerful and awesome experience I have is being in the presence of God in prayer and studying His word, sensing oneness between His Spirit and mine.

Most of us long to be loving people, able to give love to our spouses, our children, our fellow believers, our unsaved acquaintances, and, most of all, to the Lord Himself. But we find it so difficult. It is nearly impossible for us to love others unless we are genuinely convinced that we ourselves are loved. Some of us are hard, callused, insensitive, and unloving people because we are not convinced we are really loved. We are saying unconsciously, “Why should I love others when nobody shows me any love?” God’s love can change that. We can find all the acceptance and affection we crave in Him; then with the confidence that we ourselves are loved, we can extend love to others. “We love,” said the Apostle John, “because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
It really is true—God loves us. Jesus said it plainly: “For the Father Himself loves you” (John 16:27). It is to our advantage to know and believe the love that He has for us (1 John 4:16). We may never be able to grasp it fully with our human understanding alone, but God is ready to make it real to us if our hearts are open and receptive to His Word. Then, secure in His love, we shall be able to reach out in love to others, unselfishly, sacrificially, unconditionally, and inexhaustibly. It will profoundly influence our relationships with those around us.
A world-renowned theologian that ever lived, Karl Barth, was asked to be a guest lecturer at the University of Chicago Divinity School.  At the end of a captivating closing lecture, the president of the seminary Announced that Dr. Barth was not well and was quite tired, and though he thought that Dr. Barth would like to be open for questions, he shouldn't be expected to handle the strain. Then he said, "Therefore, I will ask just one question on behalf of all of us."He turned to the renowned theologian and asked, "Of all the theological insights you have ever had, which you consider to be the greatest of them all?

It was the perfect question for a man who had written literally tens of thousands of pages of some of the most sophisticated theology ever put into print.  The students held pens right up against their writing pads, ready to take down verbatim the premier insight of the greatest theologian of their time. Karl Barth closed his tired eyes, and he thought for a minute, and then he half smiled, opened his eyes, and said to those young seminarians, "The Greatest theological insight that I have ever had is this: His answer was, “Jesus loves me. This I know; for the Bible tells me so.” Believe it, friends. God loves you! It's a love that never stops shining.

9. God’s Love Is Incomparable and Sacrificial

Romans 8:32 says “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things”?

Not only does God’s love motivate Him to give, but it motivates Him to give when it costs Him dearly. That too is different from our love. We hesitate to do anything for others that will cost us too much or inconvenience us too greatly. But God’s love cost Him the very best that He had—His only Son. That is the message of the greatest love text in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God’s giving His Son involved more than merely allowing Him to leave Heaven’s glory and enter earth’s history. It meant allowing Him to die in our place and pay the awful debt of our sins. God proved His love conclusively and irrefutably by sending His Son to the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (Romans 5:8; 1John 4; 9-10). That is sacrificial love.

 Jesus Christ made the supreme sacrifice for us when He died in our place. He was falsely accused, beaten, spit on, crowned with thorns, nailed to a cross, and left to die the most excruciating death known to man. The infinite curse of sin’s penalty, the Father’s just punishment for the whole world’s guilt, was laid on Him as He hung on that cross. He possessed the power to walk away from it unscathed, yet He voluntarily stayed there and bore that suffering for us. There simply is no greater love (John 15:13).
Whenever we are tempted to think that nobody loves us, we need to think of the cross. Jesus bore that shame and suffering because He loves us. He values us so highly that He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to secure for us eternal joy. That is the essence of love. Knowing Him intimately will motivate us to make some sacrifices for the good of others—for our spouses, our children, and other members of the body of Christ. It will help us give up what we want in order to minister to their needs.

10. God’s Love is Unfathomable and Rewarding

The most beautiful and powerful motivation to love God is that God Himself is our highest reward! God said to Abraham "I am your exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1) “But as the Scriptures say, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”(I Corinthians 2:9)  Hosea 11; 4 describes that, The Love of God is a Rewarding love. It meets our need. God’s loving provision is not only for this world but for all eternity. His love provides our needs while we live in this world. His Love has also prepared great blessings and treasures for us to enjoy throughout all eternity

In 1 John 3:1 says “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him”.

John has no words to express the worth, height and depth of God’s love. That’s why he just describes this love with ‘so’. In his epistle he says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us…” 1John 3:1. The Love of God is a strong powerful love. It is not a weak love that can easily be destroyed. The Lord has redeemed us with His precious blood and we are extremely precious and valuable in His sight. He would not allow anyone to snatch us out of His hand. The value of one human soul is greater than that of the whole world. The love of God is an everlasting love which is willing to make any sacrifices for us. Bible says “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, “(John 1:12).” God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them? (1 John 4:16)
In order to live a victorious Christian life Jesus promised the Baptism of the Holy Spirit  in Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 

And finally every believer is going to meet the Lord one day. Hence the greatest investment we can make in this life is a wholehearted pursuit of a deep personal relationship with Him. The immediate earthly rewards are greater than any sacrifice, but the treasure awaiting us in heaven is beyond words can describe. Eternal life begins the moment we are saved, and the Bible gives a very interesting description of it: “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Our eternal life is now. Don’t wait for heaven; get to know your amazing Lord today.

What makes heaven attractive? Is it the pearly gates or the golden streets? No. Heaven will be attractive, because there we shall behold Him who loved us so much as to give His only-begotten Son to die for us. What makes home attractive? Is it the beautiful furniture and stately rooms? No; So what makes heaven attractive is the thought that we shall see Christ who has loved us and given Himself for us.

If you ask me why God should love us, I cannot fully comprehend. I suppose it is because He is a true Father. It is His nature to love; just as it is the nature of the sun to shine. He wants you to share in that love. Do not let unbelief keep you away from Him. Do not think that, because you are a sinner, God does not love you, or care for you. He does! He wants to save you and bless you. "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).

Is that not enough to convince you that He loves you?  God sent Him to die for the sins of the whole world. If you belong to the world, then you have part and lot in this love that has been exhibited in the cross of Christ. He brings deliverance for the past, the present, and the future. “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,” (2 Corinthians 1:10).

 If you can convince a man that you love him you have won his heart. If we could really make people believe that God loves them, how we should find them crowding into the kingdom of heaven! The trouble is that men become victim& deceived by his own thoughts. His concept about God is wrong and when concept is wrong then his conclusion also will be wrong hence they are all the time running away from Him. When we wish to know the love of God we should go to the cross of Calvary. Can we look upon that scene, and say God did not love us? That cross speaks of the love of God. Greater love never has been taught than that which the cross teaches. What prompted God to give up Christ? What prompted Christ to die? – if it were not love? "Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Christ laid down His life for His enemies; Christ laid down His life for world; and the spirit of the cross, the spirit of Calvary, is love. When they were mocking Him and deriding Him, what did he say? "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). That is love. He did not call down fire from heaven to consume them; there was nothing but love in His heart.

God wants you to experience that love more than you can imagine, so much that He sacrificed the One He loves the most for you - His one and only Son, Jesus. The reason we are missing that love is because we've pushed God out of our lives with our sin. We've lived our way instead of God's way, over and over again. That has left us separated from God and from His love with a death penalty on our heads, but God lavished His love on you by sending Jesus to die in your place. You will miss this love your heart wants so much until you respond to it by placing all your trust in Jesus Christ to remove the sin-barrier and give you eternal life.

The Word of God describes the only love that can ever truly answer this deepest cry of the human heart. It's found in Romans 8:38-39, "Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." He came with words of love; He moved with love and compassion. He exchanged His love for their scorn and hatred - fanatic love indeed! Jesus loved us with an everlasting, unparalleled love and expects us to love Him and others whole-heartedly. He pleads with us, "as the Father has loved me so have I loved you. Abide in my love." He longs for our love, something too wonderful to believe. The Apostle Paul was sure that nothing could separate us from the love of Christ. It is the Incredible, Incomparable, immeasurable, unfathomable, and, Steadfast Love of God .In Lamentations 3:22-23 it says:”The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”