As you read through the following characteristics of love, determine which ones you need to focus on in order to mature spiritually and to fulfill Jesus’ command to love others as your self.
This page was last updated: March 11, 2015
Jesus did not leave us an excuse not to love others:
“You have heard that it was said,
‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who
persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. ...
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? ...
And if you greet only your brothers,
What are you doing more than others?
Do not even pagans do that?”
Matthew 5:43-47 NIV
From infancy, we associate love with warm, fuzzy feelings of security – as we age, we add emotional and physical pleasure to our definitions of love. Now that we possess God’s spiritual understanding and spiritual power by the Holy Spirit, we need to add Biblical love to our attitudes and actions.
Wait just one minute! I cannot love my enemies. I cannot love those weirdoes walking the streets. I can’t love those devil worshippers. I can’t love those drug pushers, child molesters, homosexuals, hate mongers, self-centered jerks ...! You’re right! You can’t! But God can and does! You are God’s vessel in which He grows the fruit of agape from which He loves the world He sent His Son to save!
Jesus and His disciple, John, would not have commanded and encouraged us to love God and to love one another if it was impossible for us to do so.
Biblical love is possible if we choose to be God’s
agape message and messenger.
Throw open the doors of your heart and the
love of Christ will pour forth from you to refresh
a dying world! And you will discover the healing
power His agape brings to your relationships – vertical and horizontal.
Don’t wait until you feel like it, or you may never open the doors.
"Greater love has
no one than this,
than to lay down one's
life for his friends.
You are My friends
if you do whatever I command you. ...
These things I
command you, that
you love one another."
John 15:13-14, 17 NKJV
“Though I speak with the tongues of men
and of angels,
but have not love,
I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
Love suffers long
and is kind;
Love does not envy;
Love does not
Is not puffed up;
Does not behave rudely,
Does not seek its own,
Is not provoked,
Thinks no evil;
Does not rejoice
But rejoices in the truth;
Bears all things,
Believes all things,
Hopes all things,
Endures all things.
LOVE NEVER FAILS.”
I Corinthians 13:1-8a NKJV
14 ~ LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS, even when nothing appears to be going
my way. Love expects fulfillment of God’s plan and anticipates the
best for the other person. Love confidently entrusts others to the
Lord to do His sovereign and perfect will in their lives.
15 ~ LOVE ENDURES ALL THINGS, especially when I think I just can’t
endure the people or circumstances in my life. Love remains
steadfast under suffering or hardship without yielding and returns
a blessing while under going trials.
16 ~ LOVE NEVER FAILS, even when I feel overwhelmed and the
situation seems hopeless. Love will not crumble under pressure or
difficulties. Love remains selflessly faithful even to the point of
8 ~ LOVE IS NOT PROVOKED, even when others attempt to provoke me
or I am tempted to strike out at something or someone. Love is not
aroused or incited to outbursts of anger. Love continues faithfully
and gently to train others in righteousness, even when they fail.
9 ~ LOVE DOES NOT REMEMBER WRONGS SUFFERED, even when everyone seems to be against me and when people openly attack me. Love does not hold a grudge against someone. Love forgives, chooses
not to bring up past wrongs in accusation or retaliation, does not
return evil for evil, and does not indulge in self pity. Love covers a
multitude of sins.
10 ~ LOVE DOES NOT REJOICE IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, even when
it seems like a misfortune was exactly what another person deserved.
Love mourns over sin, its effects, and the pain which results from
living in a fallen world. Love seeks to reconcile others to God by faith
11 ~ LOVE REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH, even when it is easier and
more profitable materially to lie. Love is joyful when truth is known,
even when it may lead to adverse circumstances, reviling, or
12 ~ LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS, even when disappointments seem over-
whelming. Love is tolerant, endures with others who are difficult to understand or deal with, and has an eternal perspective in
difficulties. Love remembers that God develops spiritual maturity
through difficult circumstances.
13 ~ LOVE BELIEVES ALL THINGS, even when others’ actions are
confusing and hypocritical and I feel like not trusting anyone. Love
accepts trustfully, does not judge people’s motives, and believes others
until facts prove otherwise. Even when facts prove that the other
person is untrustworthy, love seeks to help restore the other to
1 ~ LOVE IS PATIENT, even when I feel like
forcefully expressing myself. Love bears
pain or trials without complaint, shows
forbearance under provocation or strain,
and is steadfast despite opposition,
difficulty, or adversity.
2 ~ LOVE IS KIND, even when I want to
retaliate physically or tear down another
with my words. Love is sympathetic,
considerate, gentle and agreeable.
3 ~ LOVE IS NOT JEALOUS, especially when
I am aware that others are being noticed
more than I am. Love does not participate
in revelry, is not hostile toward one believed to enjoy an advantage,
and is not suspicious. Love works for the welfare and good of the
4 ~ LOVE DOES NOT BRAG, even when I want to tell the world about my accomplishments. Love does not flaunt itself boastfully and does not engage in self-glorification. Instead, love lifts (builds up) others.
5 ~ LOVE IS NOT ARROGANT, even when I think I am right and others
are wrong. Love does not assert itself or become overbearing in
dealing with others.
6 ~ LOVE DOES NOT ACT UNBECOMINGLY, even when being
boastful, rude, or overbearing will get me attention and allow me to
get my own way. Love conforms to what is right, fitting, and
appropriate to the situation in order to honor the Lord.
7 ~ LOVE DOES NOT SEEK ITS OWN, even when I feel like grabbing it all or have an opportunity to do so. Love does not try to fulfill its
own desires, does not ask for its own way, and does not try to
acquire anything for itself. Love, as an act of the will, seeks to serve and not be served.
This is LOVE,
that we WALK according
to His commandments.
This is the commandment,
that as you have
heard from the beginning,
you should WALK in it.
2 John 6 NKJV
Do not love the world
or the things in the world.
If anyone loves the world,
the love of the Father
is not in him.
1 John 2:15 NKJV
"For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One
died for all, then all died;
and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves,
but for Him who died
for them and rose again."
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NKJV
"Let all that you do be done with love."
1 Corinthians 16:14 NKJV
"Love does no harm
to a neighbor;
therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."
Romans 13:10 NKJV
The “love” we seek and desire to give is God’s agape – the purposeful commitment to sacrificial action on behalf of others. Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf was motivated by His Will and Love:
“. . . God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 NIV
It is impossible for us “to love” (agapeo) as God agapes. BUT as born again believers, we are now able to understand the things of God.
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things
that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him,
and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
I Corinthians 2:14 NIV
As believers, we have the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, within us. Not only do we have understanding, we possess His power to manifest the spiritual fruits in and with our lives.
Love (agape) is the first fruit of the Spirit, followed by joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galations 5:22-23a). Have you ever heard a believer say, “Don’t pray for patience or you’ll get it through a trial.” Yet as believers we are quick to pray for joy and peace – things we want to receive from God to offset the difficulties of life.
All the fruits of the Spirit are characteristics of God Himself, which He has freely endowed us with by His indwelling Spirit. These fruits ripen as we mature spiritually, and are evidenced by our purposeful commitment to obey God because we love Him.
“And this is love:
that we walk in obedience to His commands.
As you have heard from the beginning,
His command is that you walk in love.”
2 John 1:6 NIV
"For GOD so LOVED the world ..."
Who is your neighbor?
Are you allowing Jesus to love them through you?
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16 NKJV
"'You shall love the
LORD your God with
all your heart,
with all your soul, and
with all your mind.'
This is the first and
And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
On these two commandments hang
all the Law
and the Prophets."
Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV
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