Love

 
 
At its essence, Christmas is a love story. It is the greatest expression of God’s love for us.
 

God’s wonderful love is both given and proven to us through Christmas.

 
See John 3:16. Giving is what love does. Giving is how love expresses itself. Giving is the heart of love; and therefore, giving is the heart of God.
 
What was God’s motive for sending us Christ? Love = Agapē describes an active, self-giving love which, in goal and action, consistently seeks the highest good of another.
 
This is a love that is willfully given with no conditions and no expectations in return. Real love is selfless and sacrificial. It knows that it is more blessed to give than receive. See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
 
Read 1 John 4:7-17.
 
(Vs. 7-8) God is love. He is the source of all love; therefore, love comes from God. It has accurately been said that “love does not define God, but God defines love.” Love is God’s very essence. It is not one of God’s many activities; instead, all of his activities are filled with love.
 
Only those who have experienced the new birth are able to have the love described here. It comes from God as a gift.
 

Our love for God is best proven in how we love others.

 
(Vs. 9) God’s love is best understood through action.
 

God put His love on display that first Christmas so that no one could miss it.

 
His love was shown among us! His love came right to where we live. The great proof of God’s love, as well as the motive for our love in return, is that he sent his only Son, who is life, so that we could live through him.
Believers must not only say that they love, love must be shown by their actions. This also follows God’s example, for he showed his love by a very clear and definite action.
 
(Vs. 10) Of all the different kinds of love, God’s love—agape—is the truest and most enduring. It speaks of compassion, kindness, unselfishness, and sacrifice. This kind of love motivated God to send his Son to the world to die for undeserving sinners. The love relationship was initiated by God; people had nothing to do with it. How could we? All people were totally dead to God—dead in sin. He loved us even though we were totally unworthy of his love. See Romans 5:8.


God loves all people, but his love does not soften His view of sin.

 
God’s love does not overlook our sin. Instead, His love came right in the midst of our sin to provide a final solution for our sin. It was God’s love for us, and his hatred of sin, that motivated him to send His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
 
(Vs. 11-12) Because believers are born of God, they should resemble their Father, who is love. The way God loves people—sacrificially, unselfishly, completely—provides the example for how believers should love each other. When we can love in this way, God’s love is made complete in us. But we cannot do this without the abiding help of the Holy Spirit.
 
(Vs. 13-17) Jesus Christ, sent from God the Father, embodied love and demonstrated that love in his life on earth. Such love does not come naturally for humans. We are not born with it, neither can we learn it. Believers receive God’s love only through the Holy Spirit.
 

The Holy Spirit at work within us should lead us to live and love like Jesus.

 
God’s love always involves a choice and an action, and our love should be like his. How well do you display your love for God in the choices you make and the actions you take?
 

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