I personally believe that no man has been able to understand one quarter of the depth, width, length and breadth of love. This is because there is no limit to love as there is no limit to God. The love the best of men/women have shown over the years is nothing compared to what is available for us to know.
Love is not a feeling. Love is more than an action and a nature. Love is a person. And that person is God. But we can personify Him by genuinely loving our world. There is however price to pay in loving this way. One fundamental requirement of love that qualifies us to be called true lovers is the fact we must experience death.
Death in this sense does not mean physical death, but a death to self. There is this natural instinct that makes us focus more on ourselves in all our transactions in life- both in the physical and spiritual realm, with humanity and with God. But breaking free from that natural tendency and seeking to out the other first and add value to their lives makes us supernatural.
So to measure up to the God-kind of love, you would need to make a personal “commitment” to love by death. Commitment is key to loving truly. This commitment involves a commitment to love God, humanity and self, in that order. The implication of this is that you would always maintain the “disposition” and then express the “character” of love.
There are three dispositions of love. They are:
- Love is sacrificial.
- Love is giving.
- Love is forgiving
Let's explore the above.
One essential commodity used for the transaction of love is sacrifice. This is one of the things that define love. You cannot say you love someone without being sacrificial. You have to go out of your way to help someone, not at your convenience but when that person needs it. Don’t tell me you are sacrificial when you still consider yourself first before other people.
When you still rush into the bus without considering that elderly woman to go in first, then you are yet to understand what loving humanity is. You have not started when you cannot enter into that kitchen and help your tired wife do the dishes or even cook for you two to eat.
When you cannot volunteer your time for free to be a part of an outreach that will add value to the society and all you think is money, then you don’t know what love means. Love will cost you something. It will always burn a part of your flesh that is selfishly fat. That what taking sacrifice does. It makes you think beyond yourself.
One disposition of love is that you are a giver of yourself and not just a giver of your stuff. People can give you things without their hearts getting involved. They don’t love you but they just give because it is the way they were brought up, or it is written in their holy book. But you cannot be a giver of yourself (heart) and not be a giver of things.
Love requires that you give yourself. Giving your time is one way to give yourself. Because time is a resource that when given cannot be regained, it is important that we wisely invest it in people. Using your gifts and talents to bless humanity are ways of giving self.
Living out your God-given purpose and vision is another way of giving yourself. Applying yourself to a cause that will add value to the world one way of giving yourself. You cannot walk in the path of a giver and you’ll still remain selfish. This is because if you can give yourself, then you can give anything.
If you want to operate true and genuine love, you must realize that maintaining a sacrificial, giving and forgiving disposition is very important. In fact this disposition make loving easy. This is one of the secrets to the love that my wife and I share. We will sacrifice anything for each other’s happiness.
We go the extra mile no matter what it takes. We are givers, both to each and to our world. Forgiveness for us is a default program. We have made up our minds to forgive each other because we’ve come to understand that the success of the world is dependent on the success of our relationship.
No matter what who we are, what we say or do, if we lack love, we are bankrupt. Imagine someone who is bankrupt, he or she will not be able to buy anything good or of high quality. The same applies to love, love is a currency that can be used to exchange for happiness, peace, joy, beauty, etc.
Love is a currency of exchange that can be used to buy only good things.
There is however what is called the character of love. When you attain the personality of love, in your nature is enshrined this character that is effortlessly expressed in your actions.
The character of love reflects:
- Love never gives up (Endurance).
- Love cares more for others than for self (Kind).
- Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have (Doesn’t envy).
- Love doesn’t strut (Vaunts not).
- Love doesn’t have a swelled head (Not puffed up).
- Love doesn’t force itself on others (Doesn’t behave itself unseemingly).
- Love isn’t always “me first” (Doesn’t seek its own).
- Love doesn’t fly off the handle (Not provoked).
- Love doesn’t keep scores of sin of others (Takes no account).
- Love doesn’t revel when others grovel (Doesn’t rejoice in when people are down).
- Love doesn’t take pleasure in the flowering of truth (The path of love is the path of truth).
- Love doesn’t put up with anything (Love understands self worth).
- Love trusts God always (Believes all things).
- Love always looks for the best (Hope all things).
- Love never looks back, keep going to the end (Endures all things).
- Love never dies (Unfailing, undying)
Having looked at all of these characters of love, do you sincerely think that you have attained the highest realm of operating love? Do you love like God, or you have the nature of love but yet to fully master love, or are you in the realm of trying to act it out? Or are you even in the level where you are far from loving? These are questions that you need to sincerely answer for yourself.
The above character of love is what describes love as simple. As you live them out day after day, you will gradually begin to look like God Himself. This brings me to one final point, which is love is in capacities. We all have different capacities for love. My capacity to endure someone may not be the same as yours.
I might be smiling in an unpleasant situation while you are frowning and fuming with anger. So the bigger your love capacity, the bigger your ability to love. Small capacity will love little, big capacity will love big. Having looked at all of these characters of love, do you sincerely think that you have attained the highest realm of operating love?
Do you love like God, or you have the nature of love but yet to fully master love, or are you in the realm of trying to act it out? Or are you even in the level where you are far from loving? These are questions that you need to sincerely answer for yourself. The above character of love is what describes love as simple. As you live them out day after day, you will gradually begin to look like God Himself.
This brings me to one final point, which is love is in capacities. We all have different capacities for love. My capacity to endure someone may not be the same as yours. I might be smiling in an unpleasant situation while you are frowning and fuming with anger. So the bigger your love capacity, the bigger your ability to love. Small capacity will love little, big capacity will love big. Knowledge (God who is love)
You will not rightly love your neighbor if you do not have a good knowledge of what love really means. And you cannot really know what love means if you don not have knowledge of who God is. To have the knowledge of God is to have a personal relationship with Him because this is what gives you the capacity to love truly. What you are doing now is also getting to know and understand the concept of love, which will help you act it out. You cannot come into what you are ignorant of.
When you see a man that wants to develop his muscles, he takes time to do it. At the beginning, the muscle may not physically grow. But as the man keeps carrying the weight, his muscles will now grow big and strong over time. This gives him a bigger capacity to lift heavy things. In the same way, when you keep acting love even when you don’t feel like it, you are building your love muscles (capacity). Over time, you will find out that your capacity to lift (forgive) heavy offences has increased.
Let every action you express be love. No relationship can survive without love. That is why I have taken my time to deal with it. To master it is to position yourself to becoming a relationship master. This is the core of any relationship. Get this right and it will be easy to operate wisdom and express character in building an excellent relationship.