All over the world, February is considered the month of love. People express their love for one another in diverse ways but all are in the form of ‘actions’. The power of love is manifested in all spheres, phases and interactions in life. As human beings, we are not perfect and neither are our relationships.
“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one commandment: Love your neighbour as yourself. If you bite and devour each other; watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (Galatians 5:14-15). The Bible also says that three things remain - faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love.
How then do you work love out? First, thank God for your differences with those you relate to. Embrace each other’s diversity and uniqueness. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ also accepted you, to the glory of God” (Galatians 5:15).
Second, give your disappointments to God. Give the other person allowance to grow by focusing on God and not on people. “Be completely humble and gentle; patient and bear with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). Third, do not be selfish. Do not always look out for personal gain. Relationships are based on give and take. And realize that only God can help you in times of trouble.
Fourth, do not rely on feelings to build your relationships. Relationships built on feelings do not last. One must be committed by expressing acts of love to build and keep relationships. The thing that stands out for you becomes your greatest aim in life. This could be a success, happiness, comfort, security, recognition, fun or popularity. This determines your dominant life principle and guides your decisions and choices.
Make love your greatest and highest aim and goal in life. Pursue love because without love you are nothing! You must think clearly when it comes to relationships and love. It is not what you say or does or believe, without love you are bankrupt. What you say must be covered and coated with love. What you believe in, give to and your pursuit of success must be seasoned with love.
There are three forms of love: Agape or the unconditional love of God; Philia or the love between family (brothers and sisters); and Eros or romantic love between a man and woman. Love is one, a verb, a doing or an action word. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Two, it is a choice. Love is more than a feeling. “I give you a new commandment - that you love one another. Just as I loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples - if you have a love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
- Why you need to teach your child independence
- What it means being a 'girl dad'
- Bad parenting: How to tell if a parent is controlling
- How to cope when children leave the nest
Three, it is permanent or lasts or endures. To paraphrase 1st Corinthians 13:7: Love bears all things - regardless of what comes; believes all things - looks for the best in each one; hopes all things - remains hopeful during difficult times; and endures all things - without weakening.
Four, love gives the other person what they need and not what they deserve. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres” (1st Corinthians 13:13).
You can understand, possess knowledge, and have more degrees than a thermometer, but if it is not manifested in love, it is a waste of time. The Bible says that even your faith, belief and giving without love is a waste of time. You can give without loving; maybe out of guilt, obligation, to be known, recognized or to manipulate others; but you cannot love without giving.
Why is love so important? Love is permanent, and endures, our talk and nametag. God is love.
Bishop David Muriithi Founder & Overseer House of Grace International Ministries