Spiritual Formation

Spiritual Formation: Love

"Three things will last forever—faith, hope and love—and the greatest of these is love.” — 1 Corinthians 13:13 by Cari Nimeth

The dictionary tells us that love is an “intense emotion or feeling.” In Greek, there are four words for love: storge (empathy), phileo (friendship), eros (romantic) and agape (unconditional love). Agape describes God’s love for us. In fact, Scripture tells us that God doesn’t just have love for us; He is love. We often misunderstand God because we have a wrong understanding of love. This misunderstanding may come from Hollywood’s portrayal of love, bad relationships we’ve walked through or unmet expectations. But to understand real love, we must begin to understand the character of God. It’s a lifelong process of discovery as we spend time in the Word and in prayer—in other words, in a loving relationship with our Creator. But we can know love as we know God and learn that we are known by God.

“Every Christian would agree that a man’s spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God.” —  C. S. Lewis, “The Four Loves”

12  Passages of Scripture on Love:

Old Testament

Matthew 22:37-39

Mark 12:29-31

John 13:34-35

John 15:9-17

Romans 8:38-39

Romans 13:10

New Testament

Ephesians 5:1-2

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Colossians 3:12-14

1 Timothy 1:5

1 Peter 4:8

1 John 4:7-21

“To say that love is God is romantic idealism. To say that God is love is either the last straw or the ultimate truth.” —  Frederick Buechnerr

A Prayer of Love

God, as the very definition of love, help me to grow in knowing Your character more and more each day. Open my eyes to the example of what Your love looks like so I can distinguish it from the world’s idea of love. Renew my heart, giving it a focus of love for You and a love for others. Thank You for fully knowing and loving me as Your child. Amen.

Steps to Salvation

The Bible states that God loves you and cares for you as a person (John 3:16). Humankind has been separated from God by sin (Romans 3:23). God sent His Son as a provision for our salvation through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection from the dead (Romans 5:8). Doing good deeds is not enough (Ephesians 2:8-9), but receiving the free gift of salvation is (John 1:12).

You can invite Jesus Christ into your life right now by praying something like the following:

Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I need your forgiveness and grace. I believe that Christ paid the penalty for my sin, and He died in my place, and He rose from the dead. I invite Jesus Christ to come into my life as Savior. Thank You for saving me from my sin and making me Your child. Help me to grow and learn how to serve You. Amen.