God's Love for Us
God’s love gives us a new understanding of what it means to love ourselves and others. God is love, so let’s explore how He tells us to love.
What is Love?
When you think of love, what is the first thing that pops into your head? Is it a sweet romance, family relationships, or the way you and your best friend always have each other’s backs? Do you think of things you love — like pizza, movies, or music? Does God’s love for us come to mind?
There are four different types of love described in the Bible:
- Eros: Romantic love between two people.
- Philia: Brotherly love (like you would find between best friends).
- Storge: Family love and affection (For example, your parents’ love toward you).
- Agape: Unconditional love. Agape describes God’s love for us.
Ways God Shows His Love For Us
Do you realize that God is a loving God? How do you see His love in your life? Take a few minutes and list at least three ways He shows you love. God has shown His love toward humanity since creation. Even after sin entered the world, God promised His love to every generation. He promised never to leave us and that He would help us. The ultimate act of God’s love for us was when He sent Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins and resurrected Him three days later.
God meets our deepest needs and the longings of our hearts. There is nothing that we could ever do to earn His love or stop Him from loving us.
Use your Bible to look up verses about God’s love for us. Write down your favorites. Memorize them with your friends. Knowing His Word will help you remember His love and will sustain you when you feel lonely or unloved.
Here are a few verses to get you started:
- John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
- Romans 5:8: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- Psalm 36:7: “How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”
- Jeremiah 31:3: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
- Romans 8:37-39 “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
How God Calls us to Love
God’s love isn’t a one-way street. He also calls us to love one another! He commands us to love Him, love ourselves, and love others. Do you feel that sometimes that’s easier said than done? No one is perfect in how they love; only God is perfect. However, with His help, we can strive to be Christ-like in the way we love.
John tells us, “We love because God first loved us” (1 John 4:19). He instructs us, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
Let’s take a closer look at how God tells us to love.
1. Loving God
The greatest commandment in the Bible is: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). We know we are supposed to love Him, but how do we do it? Jesus tells us, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).
Jesus promises us that if we love Him and keep His commandments, we will have a relationship with God. He will send the gift of His Holy Spirit to live in our hearts and be our ever-present guide and helper (Acts 2:38).
Do you love God and have a relationship with Him? God sent His Son Jesus to die on the
cross so that you could be saved and have that relationship. If you were the only person on the planet, Jesus still would have died for you because He loves you that much. The Bible tells us that if you “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Have you asked Jesus to be in your life? If not, and you want a relationship with Him, we recommend that you start by praying that he would come into your heart, then go and talk your parents or a spiritual leader such as your pastor or youth group leader so that they can help you learn what it means to walk with Christ.
Key Verses to Know:
- Mark 12:30: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
- John 14:15: “If you love me, keep my commands.”
- 1 John 5:3: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
2. Loving Yourself
There’s a big difference between what the world and Bible have to say about loving yourself. The world shouts that you should do what makes you happy and to “follow your bliss.” In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Timothy gives a laundry list of worldly, selfish ideals that we need to stay away from.
So what does loving yourself look like from a biblical perspective? It means taking care of your body by following healthy habits and recognizing that God created you to be unique. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139)! Above all, loving yourself means growing closer to God. Having a relationship with Him will help you make wise choices that protect you from sin and harm.
Key Verses to Know:
- Ephesians 5:29: “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.”
- Proverbs 19:8: “To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.
3. Loving Others
One of the most repeated commands in the Bible is to love one another. Jesus tells us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). He also says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
It’s easy to love your friends, family, people who are nice, who you like and admire. But what about the people who hate you or have rejected you? How about the people who are just plain mean and unlikeable? Jesus says to love them too. Sometimes the most unlovable people are the ones who are hurting and need Jesus’ love the most. And who knows? By loving them when no one else does, you may change their eternity.
That’s the most incredible way to show your love to others: Introducing them to Jesus Christ. Jesus instructs us in Matthew 28:19-20 to share our faith with others and make them disciples. What better way to show someone love than introducing them to the God who is love?
Jot down some ways you can show love to the people around you. Can you think of a few people who need to be shown God’s love and encouragement today?
February focuses a lot on love, especially since Valentine’s Day is in the middle of the month. Valentine’s Day can be a great platform to show others you love them. If you know a person’s love language, you can pick a meaningful way to show them love. Click this link for some creative ideas.
Key Verses to Know:
- Matthew 5:46: “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”
- 1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
- Luke 6:35: “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”
Remember that God loves you more than you can imagine. He created you to love Him and share His love with those around you. Be intentional about sharing His love every day and watch how He blesses it.
Join Captain Absolutely as he learns what it means to love others and fight fear. Explore the importance of God’s love through Focus on the Family’s graphic novel, Captain Absolutely.
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