Before we receive the Lord Jesus into our hearts and lives we can only receive and give inferior and incomplete versions of love. We can give and receive brotherly love. We can give and receive erotic love. We can have love that delights, desires, pleases, chooses or prefers. We can have fondness for men or women, toward them and to them. We can have love for money, for self or for a friend. We can love those who are extensions of ourselves. We can love those who are like us. We can love those with whom we have things in common. We can have good feelings. Those inferior versions of love are all connected to our heads, our minds and our humanity.
There is a superior kind of love that is connected to our hearts. This love is agape love. This kind of love CANNOT BE ENJOYED OR GIVEN by any person without Christ in their heart in the person of the Holy Spirit. God is the ONLY source of this kind of love. It is defined as moral, social, benevolent or affectionate. It is unselfish, unconditional, unbreakable and unending. It is a gift of God.
Romans 5:5: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Romans 8:38-39: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon*s devotional on 1 John 4:19: We love Him because He first loved us.
The apostle John was and is the foremost human authority on the love of God. He was one of the three Apostles closest to Jesus. Every believer experiences the wonderful love of Jesus but the Apostle John was given direct insights into the love of God and ability to express them that no other human has ever been given. I trust you will be thrilled by the things he wrote about the love of God. He was speaking about himself in this first passage. Please study the indispensible truths in each of these passages.
John 13:23: Now there was leaning on Jesus* bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 15:13: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
1 John 2:5: But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
1 John 3:1: Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
1 John 3:16: Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
1 John 4:7-10: Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:12: No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:16-18: And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:20: If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
1 John 5:3: For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Galatians 5:22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Agape love is not the fruit of a mortal man. How foolish we are if we run away from the love of God. The instruction of Jude, the brother of Jesus, contains the greatest wisdom of the ages:
Jude 1:21: Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.