|You Need Love If You Want Fulfillment, But What Is It Really?|
Love; so much has been written about it. Think of all the love songs and also the songs that have been written to tell us about love. All we need is love. What the world needs now is love, sweet love. And the many romance novels seem to sell very well, plus the many books written to teach us about love.
Here are two facts about love. God is Love. Love is Righteousness.
The 10 Commandments can be summed up in one word: LOVE. Real love never violates any of the 10 Commandments or any other patterns or ordinances of God. No one can love without God loving through them. That is, no one can be righteous without God doing His works through them. Anything else is merely self-rightousness. God's righteousness works this way: God leads and gives the vision of hope, we hear and receive God's faith, which gives us access to God's grace. God's grace does God's work through us as we yield ourselves to Him. Nothing else is righteousness ever.
You may know some people who suppose that they are righteous. For their sakes, let's raise the bar to where God sets it. Scripture tells us, "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Did you know that whatever thought that you think that did not originate with God is sin? Every word that is spoken that didn't come from God is sin. Every act that is done that was not the leading of God and that was not done fully under the power of the Holy Spirit is sin. Every man-made order in the church is an abomination to God, just as much as falling short of the 10 Commandments. Did you ever look at the order of government in the Church that is God's pattern? "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word (which is literally utterance in the Greek) of God. God speaks. Without that, no one can have faith. The faith is God's faith--not human make-believe faith. Faith gives access to grace. Grace does the work. Nothing else is righteousness ever. Any human effort or control of this process defiles it. Any spiritual pride or desire for recognition, even patting ourselves on our own backs, ruins God's work. Our place is to simply submit to God's leading. God is love/rightousness and He leads into love/righteousness.
People are hungry for love. They want to get beyond the surface and have the genuine true love. Since they seem somewhat frustrated in finding satisfaction, they turn to all types of substitutes for the genuine and real love. This is the cause for addictions, the search for satisfaction in substitutes that cannot satisfy. Many people go against everything they believe and hold dear just to be accepted and loved, and, in the end, they somehow miss the mark of what they were hoping for. Some will try to put money, fame, fortune, success, power, prestige, possessions, or personal appearance in the place that was meant for love, and they find that this leads them to an empty and hollow existence. Some people just shut down and stop trying. True love is vitally important to fulfillment.
Even though love is so important, how many people really understand that true love is spiritual and not emotional? Oh, it may affect our emotions, but everything that is genuine will affect our emotions, and a lot of things that are not real will also affect our emotions. You have to decide whether you want what is real and lasting or you want what is deceptive and temporary. If you desire the genuine and forever kind of love, then you need to find out from God what love is and how love is related to such other powerful spiritual things as faith, hope, righteousness, and holiness. You need to find out about the different kinds of love and what they are all about.
Before you can understand anything about true love, you must realize that all true, genuine, love comes from God. The sad thing is that there are many definitions of love, and it is harder than ever to tell the difference between true love and the many things that are falsely called love.
It seems as if not only love but all the important words have been re-defined. Faith has been re-defined into something that is just plain silly. Hope has been re-defined into, "I hope so" or "high hopes" rather than the hope that comes from God. Love has also been re-defined into emotion, feelings, friendships, socialism, and many other things. Misconceptions like these can stand in the way when we want to understand and partake of God's love.
The many common misconceptions of the culture can keep us from entering into that deep, spiritual love, which affects our spiritual health. A 2009 Barna poll shows that 81% of self-identified Christians endorse the notion that spiritual health means "trying hard to follow the rules described in the Bible." This in spite of the fact that Paul told the Galatian church that, if they are trying to finish the work that God started by trying hard to follow the rules, then they are making the grace of God of no effect, Galatians 2:21. Self-generated "love," like the kind of "love" that is generated by trying really hard to follow a set of rules, just frustrates God's free gift of love. We may try to have both the supernatural love, agape love, that comes from God alone and also the kinds of love that we try to generate by self-effort. So, we can have self-generated love or we can supernatural love, but the two are not compatible. Only one is true and authentic.
All true, authentic, love comes from God. Counterfeit love, on the other hand, can be had without God.
The counterfeit love we hear most about is the kind of love that people "fall" into. Misunderstanding this type of love is the cause of an awful lot of misery. A man and woman "fall in love." They experience what is basically an electro-chemical reaction, which lasts anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of years. The feeling is euphoric and temporary. For those who lack understanding, they say, "The feeling is gone." Then they move on to their next relationship--or marriage--in hopes that this new relationship will last. It will not. The feeling is temporary. Lasting "feelings of love" must be cultivated.
The second most promoted form of counterfeit love is the kind of love that says, "Smile on your brother. Everybody get together, and try to love one another right now," and "Put a little love in your heart." This is the self-generated--without God--type of love. Those who are deceived by this are proclaiming a commandment, which is the commandment that actually does come from God. The trouble is that they are trying to have love without the God who is love. They are trying to do what is impossible, have love without God. This form of love often turns into a kind of love that is used to promote politicians and entertainers so they can get more money and power. They want to be sincere, but they are being fooled by a deceptive lie. Even some churches are promoting this lie in the form of a social gospel and often a political gospel--a gospel with human-generated righteousness and human-generated love.
Four types of love are mentioned in the Bible.
All love comes from God. There is no other source of true love. Someone may ask, "Then what about unbelievers who love their spouses or love their children or love their friends?" Four types of love are mentioned in the Bible.
There is a Greek word, phileo, that means brotherly love. This is the kind of love that is based on common interests, common goals, or personalities that just seem to get along well.
Then, there is another Greek word, eros, for self-gratifying "love." Eros is focused on one's self and what it can get, often in terms of pleasure. It cares nothing for others because it is too busy using others and taking advantage of them--although it may impersonate affection to get what it wants. It often may even fool the person displaying eros into thinking that the eros is actually true love. This type of "love" gives many people a very warped view of sex.
The Greek word, storge, refers to the kind of love that occurs naturally between family members, which is a good gift from God. It is that powerful love that sweeps over a mother when she gives birth. It is the love between brothers and sisters. God built natural affection into every person just as He put a conscience in every person. The word, storge, is never used in the Bible, but astorgos, without natural affection, is mentioned twice. Some are so evil that they even lack natural affection for members of their own family, their parents, spouse, siblings, or children. This is not how they were created, however.
The type of love that we are most concerned with is the supernatural love. This is the love that God is. This love goes beyond natural affection. You were created to literally flow with this kind of love in mighty, flowing streams as you tap into the all-powerful Source of this love. This love is available only through Christ who reconciles us to the almighty God who created all things. The Greek word for the supernatural kind of love is agape.
Looking to God to understand love and centering on 1 Corinthians 13, we find that love is patient, kind, humble, polite, serving others, self-controlled, forgiving, good, and truth-loving. Love is not envious, boastful nor desiring recognition nor proud, rude, self-seeking nor wanting to be served, quick-tempered, unforgiving, entertained by evil, nor does love seek out a lie. This is the agape love, the love that is only available as it flows from the throne of God. And this love is related to faith, true faith.
Since love is so closely related to faith, the fact that faith has been re-defined will have a devastating effect on receiving the love that is of God. Sometimes we use the word, faith, and we really mean a rationalized belief. Sometimes we may refer to a religious organization and call it a faith. Sometimes the word, faith, is used to refer to a doctrine. Real, genuine, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, Hebrews 11:1. Whatever is not of faith is sin, Romans 14:23. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word (literally, utterance) of God, Romans 10:17. Looking into 1 Corinthians 13 in the fourth verse, it says, "charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up." That is to say, love is humble; it doesn't brag; it has no pride. Understanding just who you are in reality has a lot to do with understanding the exact function of faith, hope, grace, and love. By the way, humility does not imply that you must beat yourself up and think of yourself as something less than God thinks of you.
We are not to think of ourselves as less than we are either.
Since the world, the culture, has conditioned us to a kind of unbalanced concept of self-esteem, there is an apparent a conflict between what we have been taught by the world, and what the Bible is saying. From many sources, there has been tremendous emphasis on loving ourselves and having self-esteem. We are told that we need to learn to love ourselves, but then the Bible says, in 2 Timothy 3:2, that in the last days there will be those who are lovers of themselves, and it is obvious from the context that this is not a good thing. So how should we think of ourselves? Brother Art Wagar said that we are not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought, Romans 12:3. Then he went on to say that we are not to think of ourselves as less than we are either. He explained that we are to think of ourselves according to the ministry that is in us, and he showed us that Romans 12:6 says that we have gifts differing according to the grace (free gift) of God. We are to think of ourselves according to the grace that is in us, Christ in us the hope of glory. Every Christian has and is a ministry, which is Christ in you. We are to think of ourselves according to the gifts and ministry that was prophesied over us. In other words, we are to think of ourselves according to reality.
We are not to know any person according to the flesh, 2 Corinthians 5:16. We know each other after the ministry that is in each one. And that is also how we need to know ourselves. We know that we have flesh, but we are not that flesh. That flesh is the old Adam and it must die.
When we are born again, we become two people. We were just the old, sinful man, but now, we also become the spiritual man, Christ in us, Colossians 1:27-29. Christ dwells in us, Ephesians 3:17. It would be impossible that Jesus would sin, 1 John 3:9. Of course, we have a will that we can turn toward the seed of Christ who has been born within us or turn toward the sinful nature, the old man. We not only have sin in our sinful nature, but we do sin, 1 John 1:10. If we sin, we have an advocate, Jesus, who says, "I died for that sin--the price is paid." So we are two people, the flesh and the spiritual man, Christ. Christ and the flesh cannot be reconciled, and we must identify with one or the other. We identify with Christ.
We have two natures that cannot coexist, and we must choose one that we will identify with. We choose the Christ nature. So much is this true that the apostle Paul said that, when he sins, it is not he who does it, but sin that dwells in him, Romans 7:16-20. That almost sounds like a cop out, but the reality is that if we identify with our fleshly nature, we will then do the works of the fleshly nature. Rather, we make no provision for the flesh, Romans 13:14. We are to identify with the Christ who is in us. The ministry that is within us is Christ. He is the only one capable of doing good works, Galatians 2:20, 1 Corinthians 15:10. This is how we ought to think of ourselves. We are not the fleshly nature, Romans 7:17. We are not the self. We are ministries, the Christ in us, the called out people, the light of God, Ephesians 5:8. We are born sons of God who still have sin dwelling in us. We are not fleshly people who have Christ dwelling in us.
When we identify with Christ, we see Him as He is, and so we become like Him, 1 John 3:2. God is love, 1 John 4:8 & 16. When we see Him in our brother and sister, this actually opens the door for us to minister by the Spirit, 2 Corinthians 5:16. When we see our brother and sister after the flesh, we tend to also see ourselves after the flesh. We need the veil removed from our eyes. As we all, with the veil removed from our eyes, see the glory of the Lord as if in a mirror, we are transfigured into that same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord, 2 Corinthians 3:18.
We are totally dependent on God to have love or to do any good work.
Love is the fulfillment of the law, Romans 13:8-10. Sin is breaking the law, 1 John 3:4. Love is what righteousness is and has many facets as 1 Corinthians 13 says. God is love. We cannot have righteousness without having God. Righteousness is by grace through faith. We cannot have love without having God. In fact, righteousness is a free gift from God, Romans 5:17. The children of Israel made the mistake of trying to establish their own righteousness and so they missed out on this free gift of God's righteousness, which God was willing to give them at no cost, Romans 10:3. Trying to put a little love in our hearts or to live by a set of rules is futile.
If we try to live by laws and rules, we will either live in self-condemnation or we will live in self-righteousness. If we recognize the fullness of God's law, and we try to obey it by our own power or our own righteousness, then we will condemn ourselves because we will fall short. Far more often, we see people who modify God's law into a set of rules that they can fulfill. They lower the bar until they can fulfill their rules. That always brings self-righteousness and pride. God's law is clear. Human beings cannot fulfill it without the process described in the Bible. This is the righteousness, the love, that is a free gift. This is the righteousness that is by grace and through faith. God does His works through us, and it is by the free gift, grace, and that grace is only available through faith. What actually happens is that God loves through us.
We need to ask God to help us to let Him love through us. For the person that I'm having trouble loving at home, at work, at church, Lord, help me to let You love this person through me. We can do the works of God if we will believe in Him to the point that we let Him work through us. When we try to generate our own love, it is like trying to generate our own good works. In fact it is exactly the same thing.
The reason that we must let God love through us has to do with the way righteousness and love operate, Romans 10:17. God speaks to us. We respond. faith is born in us by the power of God. Faith is the door to grace, Romans 5:2. Grace flows in and does God's works through us, Romans 6:13. Whatever is not of faith is sin, Romans 14:23. In other words, anything that we do that God did not lead us into and anything in which God did not do the work through us is sin. That narrow way is very narrow indeed, Matthew 7:13-14.
It is all about a relationship with God.
The only way to have more love is to have a closer relationship with God who is love. The only way to have more faith is to walk more closely with God and to listen to Him, obey Him, when He speaks. Jesus wants that close relationship and He communicates with us through the Bible, through our conscience, through His creation, through a word of knowledge, through another Christian, and in many other ways. He is concerned about every part of our lives. Our minds were never created to be disconnected from God, but we were designed to flow in communion with Him at all times. When he speaks, faith comes. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by a word, literally an utterance, of God, Romans 10:17. Faith gives us access to grace, Romans 5:2. Hebrews 12:27-29 tells us that it is through Grace that we are able to serve God. Romans 5:18-21 tells us that grace reigns through righteousness. This righteousness is a free gift from God. That's what grace means, free gift. It is a free gift, and if we will yield our hands, feet, ears, eyes, and mind to this righteousness of God, then God will do His work through us, Romans 6:13. God will love through us. So, when someone is unlovable, we can pray that God would help us to allow Him to love that unlovable person through us.
When I allow Christ to love through me...
When I love and seek the Lord Jesus...
When I listen to Him and yield myself to Him so that He can think, speak, and act through me...
Then I can do all things through Christ who is my only strength.
Without Him, I can do nothing.
Last updated: Dec, 2013
All True, Authentic, Love Comes From God
The Christian Principles of the Four Types of Love
Righteousness is Love.
Why Does God Love You?
We are Totally Dependent on God to Have Love or to Do Any Good Work.
We Are To Be Humble But Not To Degrade What God Has Made
Four Types Of Love Are Mentioned In The Bible.
It Is All About A Relationship With God.
Real Good Works And Real Holiness Are Free Gifts From God.
Why is righteousness part of salvation?
Everything Good Comes From God, But We Must Be Willing To Receive It.
Did Jesus Do Away With The Law? No.
The Real Law, God's Law is the Very Definition of Love
The Way Is Very Narrow and the Gate Is Very Strait (Constricted)
Fulfillment Through Understanding Sin & Judgment and Understanding Righteousness & Holiness
Can there be love without God? No. There can be no love without God. God is love. Every good and every complete gift comes from Him.
How Can I Walk With God?
We are not saved by good works, but are we saved to good works and holiness? What does the Bible say?
How can I avoid missing out on the only way to be set free?
Questions and Answers: What Is The Difference Between Being In Love and Loving
Toons & Vids
Humility: Seeing Reality
Acknowledge Him When He Speaks
The Real Faith Of God Is What You Need For Fulfillment
Listen, Hear, Yield, Receive, Let God Move.
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Righteousness by Grace through Faith
You Reap What You Sow: Good Seed Sown In Good Ground
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Down To Earth Righteousness
Doing Good Works
The Whole Duty of Man
The Secret of the Law of Liberty
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Can We Ever be Misled by Following Our Feelings?
Real Reality. Seek Truth. Truth Fulfills. Lies Frustrate
How Can I Know God's Will And Be Led By The Spirit Of God?
Sin & the Strait and Narrow Way
No Willful Sin
If I'm Dead to Self, Why Am I Tempted?
Some Cannot Submit to God's Grace
I Met My Master Face to Face
Questions and Answers: What is the change in the fulfillment of the royal law under the New Covenant
By Grace Through Faith
Growing in Christ
The Strait and Narrow Way
Answer to Critic
Appeal to Possibility
Argument to the Future
Love Between a Man and Woman
Righteousness & Holiness
Proof by Atheism
Scriptures About Marriage
The Reason for Rejecting Truth
Witness on the Internet
Flaky Human Reasoning
How Do You Know?
The Real Purpose of the Church
The Real Purpose of Life
From Glory to Glory
REAL Faith--What it IS & IS NOT
REAL Love--What it IS & IS NOT
How to be Led by God
How to Witness
Wisdom: Righteousness & Reality
Holiness & Mind/Soul
Redemption: Free From Sin
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Circular Reasoning-Who is Guilty?
How Can We Know Anything?
Mind Designed to Relate to God
Answers for the Confused
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Public School Failures