An extract from: “THE SCHOOL OF THE SEERS – A Practical Guide on how to see in the unseen realm” by Jonathan Welton.
WHAT IS LOVE?
One of the most well-known sections of Scripture is First Corinthians 13. It is frequently spoken at weddings all over the country. The fact is, First Corinthians 13:4-8 gives one of the best definitions of love that has ever been written. This passage gives 16 key points about what love is: (1) patient, (2) kind, (3) does not envy, (4) does not boast, (5) is not proud, (6) is not rude, (7) is not self-seeking, (8) is not easily angered, (9) keeps no record of wrongs, (10) does not delight in evil, (11) rejoices with the truth, (12) always protects, (13) always trusts, (14) always hopes, (15) always perseveres, (16) never fails.
We have another definition of love in Galatians that many have overlooked. When we refer to the fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5, often the thinking is that this is a list of character traits. The passage starts with verse 22 saying, “But the fruit of the spirit is love…” Notice that the fruit is singular. If you look in the original language of the text, the fruit of the spirit is truly singular, it is not the fruit(s) of the spirit. Love is the one fruit of the spirit. The eight words that come after, “… joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” are merely further descriptions of the one fruit of the spirit. In other words, love is full of joy, full of peace, full of kindness, and so on.
Many have a weak notion of love as simply a feeling. A closer look at the Word shows us that love is a choice. God so loved the world, that He made the choice to do something (see John 3:16). We need to choose to walk in the lifestyle of love. The following three verses make it very clear that love is a decision:
“But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet” (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue … love…” (1 Timothy 6:11).
“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue.. .love… along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
Love is not only a choice that is made once, but it is a choice that we make daily. We should be known for having our whole lifestyle revolve around love. It is the filter that all of our words, attitudes, and actions have to go through before we speak or act.
“As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love“ (2 John 1:6b).
“..live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as ajagrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2).
“Keep yourselves in God’s love…” (Jude 1:21).
“Let all that you do be done with love” (1 Corinthians 16:14 NKJV).
Love has a certain way that it treats others. As we have seen, it is kind, patient, gentle, keeps no record of wrongs, etc. Love also has a unique quality about it, in that it can cover sin: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
We are called to love each other deeply, and many have been hindered from doing that because sin has been left exposed. Sin needs to be repented of, forgiven, and the record destroyed. Without love, we will still see each other through the lens of that past violation. Love literally gives us back the eyes to see each other without the sin.
Even in the cases where confrontation and exposure are needed to deal with sin, we have a model for how to handle that. The truth must be spoken in love. This pertains to our motivations. We are not to speak the truth just to validate ourselves; we don’t speak the truth to injure others; we speak the truth out of a heart of love — a heart that desires healing and restoration: “..speak the truth in love…” (see Ephesians 4:15a).
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12,14).
Love is put in the chief place above all other virtues in Scripture. It is of the utmost importance. Not only is it the number one priority, but it also is the glue that holds all the other virtues in perfect balance. It would be easy for someone whose highest value is courage to mistreat others. But courage will function at its optimum capacity when used under love.
Love is as powerful as two evil forces in the world, fear and death. Song of Songs 8:6 says that love is as strong as death, and First John says that there is n fear in love: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18 NKJV).
Love is literally a force in the spirit realm. It is as strong as death, and perfect love casts out fear. Many in the Church have pursued greater faith, but even faith does not function correctly without love: “….faith works through love” (see Galatians 5:6b NKJV).
Speaking of faith, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17-20b; see also Luke 17:6).
Faith has a power or force great enough to move a mountain; now consider the following truth: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love“ (1 Corinthians 13:13).
This is an amazing statement: Love is a greater force than hope or even faith. Thousands of sermons and books have been written about the incredible power of faith, but the even greater power of love has not received as much focus. If a mustard seed of faith can move a mountain or uproot and cast a tree into the sea, then what kind of magnificent power dwells in love? What if we lived our life with even a mustard seed of love? It would be way beyond moving mountains. This is the realm that I believe God is calling the Church worldwide to step into.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17b-19).
This builds on our previous thought about love being greater than faith. Only by grasping and being firmly rooted in love can we be filled with all the fullness of God. Like Ephesians 3 says, “the love of Christ …surpasses knowledge.”
What would “being filled with the fullness of God” look like? I would say that it would be the purest form of being like Jesus. Because the Word says, “God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him [Jesus] “ (Colossians 1:19).