Today, I wanted to talk about the first and honestly the most important concept in the Bible: Love.
The Bible is a love story. A story of love at first sight. Often, when we hear love, we think primarily of romantic love, but the first love most experience comes from their parents. God’s love is no different. I believe that as God shaped the Universe, They (The Hebrew Elohiym is actually plural) were already excited and planning the world for Adam and Eve to exist in. They made a beautiful garden with all types of plants, animals, and many things to see. Just like any parents, once they know their child is on the way, They prepared a perfect place for their life to begin with as much nurturing as possible.
However, children still have free will. They wanted what’s best for Their kids, so that even when we mess up, They already had a backup plan to save us.
God the Father sent the Son to rescue.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.
The act of sacrifice is a central component to love here. He sacrificed His son to give us all the chance to be His children and learn to trust again. To love is to sacrifice. I don’t know many parents that wouldn’t lay their lives down for the sake of their children. Unquestioned sacrifice is love.
For God to sacrifice a part of Himself in the form of the Son, is very telling. God knew there was only one way to reestablish a relationship with mankind that would surpass and conquer sin. Once Jesus Christ became the new Adam, we all were given grace and mercy to be allowed to reconnect with the God we once knew so well.
The largest misunderstanding about the Bible is that it is a book of ‘Do Not’s. The more times that I’ve read it, the more I strongly disagree. Yes, the Bible talks about all these things not to do, but like children learning from their parents, not all of the things are readily explained and we have free will whether to listen or not.
“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
My grandmother new allowed me to spend nights over friends houses. She never explained why, all I knew was that she said it was dangerous. It wasn’t until years later when I started hearing stories of domestic violence, sexual assault, physical abuse, and even how dirty people’s houses were, that I finally understood. If she would have told me then, I would have never completely gotten it. Now I understand.
When I started my personal celibacy challenge, my mind was continuously crowded thinking about sex. I had doubts about my body as it changed. I had fears about loyalty and safety. I was constantly lonely. I didn’t realize how much lust had dulled me and my shine. I understand the dangers of promiscuity more now than I did ever before, but it was written in the same Bible that they grandmother kept on her dresser. I learned the hard way. God loved me enough to warn me but also enough to learn from it myself.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The entire Bible’s commandments are summed up nicely in Matthew 22:36-40 with the Great Commandments. If you truly love the Lord your God, you would not put anything before God. That means money, pride, or even yourself comes before the Lord. But, if you truly love the Lord, you wouldn’t devalue something He created like other people, nature, or even yourself.
The problem happens when we don’t value ourselves enough and understand the value we have in God’s eyes. We then spend the rest of our lives trying to fill the voids in our hearts and groaning under the weight of society, instead of Christ’s love. Then, we treat others poorly because we have to ensure others know they “must” value us at the level we fail to see in ourselves. We don’t know how to love, so we can’t love someone else.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
1 John 4:7-8
Love is the one thing that I truly believe that proves God’s existence. It functions just like God. It’s everlasting, constant, and incredibly spontaneous. Love cannot be predicted, controlled, or fully understood. It even has plenty deceivers that masquerade like it but eventually pale in comparison (lust). Love is so supreme, that it can heal even the worst wounds. Love is so powerful that when it’s wielded by the wrong people, it can be corrupted to destroy lives.
However, acting in love, means looking at the whole person (including ourselves), and not immediately judging or condemning. Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and if we model His love, we cannot condemn ourselves or our neighbors either. Our job is to love. Love without letting sin getting in the way of caring, respecting, and protecting the object of love.
“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19