Scripture explains all those things, but if you could distill it all down to one word, it would be love.
You could argue that it’s about God, but God is love. You could say it’s about sin and salvation but God saved us because of love. Even the Law is not fulfilled by observing a moral code but through other-centered love. The meaning of life is that we were created because God wanted to widen the circle of love He has enjoyed within the Trinity since before time was.
Love is not just one of many attributes of God; it’s the only attribute. Anything else about God only describes what love looks like.
Love is more important than theology. If we don’t know love we only prove we don’t really know God (1 John 4:7-8).
Love is more important than dynamic preaching, pristine doctrine, or anointed ministry. Without love these things are not only unimportant, they amount to nothing at all (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
Knowledge will eventually vanish away and faith and hope will no longer be needed, but love will always remain. (1 Cor. 13:8-13).
Without love between us, our evangelism is dysfunctional. It was Jesus who said that the world will know us by our love for one another. The world will see Jesus when we see our union in the same love the Father has for Him (John 13:35; 17:23).
Without love everything good eventually becomes cold, dark, and empty.
Jesus told us that “unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt.18:3), because little children already love with His love. We have to be taught how to be unconverted from this love.
The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is all about love. The Ten Commandments are all about loving God with all that we are, and loving others the same way. If you want to know everything there is to know, learn about love.
Think about this for a moment. If we loved others with God’s other-centered love for us, laws would not be needed, prisons would be empty, wars would become ancient history…for there would be no more rivalries, factions, envy, violence, murder, hatred…and no more of the strong subjugating the weak, or any of our other inhumanities.
“If we ceased to desire the goods of our neighbor, we would never commit murder or adultery or theft or false witness. If we respected the tenth commandment, the four commandments that precede it would be superfluous.”
― René Girard: I See Satan Fall Like Lightning
If we loved others like ourselves, there would never be poverty or starvation because we would never withhold anything from ourselves. There would never be a need to hoard riches because whatever we might lack is met by others who love us the same way we love them. Our self-giving relationships in community would be our most precious treasure instead of dead shiny rocks and metals.
If you came to me to be discipled, I would only teach you about one thing—love. First, how to open your heart to receive God’s love, then how to give that same love away to others…100% of the time.
I would not have to teach you anything else because you would automatically do those things anyway.
The key to all happiness is not found in a fulfilling career or prolific ministry, but in being successful at love. And the only hindrance to receiving everything God has intended for us is in our inability to receive His love. We’re still believing it’s about other things.
What made God angry, what made Jesus angry, wasn’t the minor infractions and violations that we think are so important. No, it’s always been about neglecting to love.
And when we don’t operate from love, we will operate from fear.
Fear overpowers, punishes, manipulates, controls, abuses, criticizes, separates, demonizes…love embraces, connects, restores, empowers, unifies, and divinizes.
Religion functions from fear, but following Christ only works from His love.
The problem is not with love, it’s with our understanding of love. Without a revelation of God’s love, without being fully embraced by His love, we will only understand some “Christianized” version of self-centered love. We will still be about protecting and saving us. Our love will always have a breaking point. We will always put ourselves first…or last. It will either be, “I matter and you don’t” or “You matter and I don’t.” Both are two-sides of the same narcissistic coin.
I understand it would be a naïve fantasy to think the present world will ever be this way. We might not be able to change the whole world, but we can change our world. And if this is so, why would I ever want to focus what little time I have on this earth on anything else?
So I will keep singing this one-word song until we all get it….until I get it. It’s God’s never-ending song He sings over us. You can’t possibly overemphasize it, exaggerate it, or exhaust the subject. It’s God’s DNA; it explains Him entirely, from beginning to end, from A to Z. It’s the deepest revelation of who He is.
Love is God’s language. So let’s learn love!