First Corinthians 13 is the great Biblical chapter defining love. Love is not a feeling primarily, it is fruit of the Spirit of God which shows in action and attitude. Why is it that Paul says if you have not love you are nothing? Because God is love and as John says in I John 4:8, “He that loveth not hath not God.” If you do not display agape (unselfish divine love) then you are a godless man or woman. If you just love others for what you can get back, that is not love. The essence of the Trinity, God in three persons, is love. The Father loves the Son and vice versa by the Holy Spirit who is the bond of love and the source of all love. Love seeks to bless and glorify another.
You can be the world’s most generous philanthropist and you can die for what you believe (like a deluded Islamic suicide bomber) but if what you do is not motivated by love for God and your fellow man it is worthless. Allah is an idol and Jehovah incarnate says, “Love your enemies”. Paul outlines some of the distinctives of true love: it is patient, kind, does not envy, is not self-seeking, it is courteous, not ill-mannered, not easily provoked, does not rejoice in sin (Sexual perversion is not love), but rejoices in the truth. Love’s effects last for ever. God’s covenant love for us, his people, grants us eternal life. As we love, God reveals himself to others (I John 4:12). How we need to grow in love and how we need to be assured of the perfect love of God to cast out all our fears (I John 4:18)!