Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

What is love?

What is love?“What is love?” It’s a question millions of people are asking every day. But where is the answer?

 The love displayed in this world is disillusioning. It’s temporary at best…selfish, shallow and often showy.

But genuine love is deeper. It’s not just something on the surface, something merely spoken with our lips.

Real love is both a matter of a life and a living. That is, it involves both a loving essence and a loving exercise.

Real love issues from an inner life. And because it’s something of life, it can also be cultivated, grow, and blossom.

But what is this deeper love and how can you experience it in your life…right now?

The essence of love is God Himself; It is His divine attribute.

The Bible clearly says that,

“God IS love.” (1 John 4:8).

Our human virtue of love is simply a container for His divine attribute. It’s our loving capacity. Our love is like the finger of a “glove.” It needs to be filled with the finger of a hand.

God as love is the real content. He is the real “hand,” waiting to fill us as His “glove.”

This God of love was embodied in in His Son, Jesus Christ (John 1:14; Col. 2:9). Then through His death and resurrection Christ became a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b). Now He is ready to come into whoever opens to  Him to become their real content.

You may want to pause for a moment and pray,

“Dear God, thank you for making me as Your container, Your “glove.” Lord Jesus, praise you that You are the embodiment of the God who is Love. Come into me as the real “hand” and be my  content. Fill my loving capacity with Yourself as Love. Lord Jesus, I love You.”

Our loving action is to contact the One who is Love that we may become love.

Once we’ve received the One Who is love itself, we need to continually contact Him so that His love can grow.

As His life of love grows in us, our virtue of love will become rich, full, solid, and enduring. This is the God of love filling and overflowing from our loving virtue.

Here are eight points of love for your progressive experience:

Now let’s consider eight points concerning what love is from the side of our practice and experience. The practice of these eight points of love will enable the Lord as love to grow in us.

 1. To love the Lord is to appreciate Him.

 Mary was one of the Lord’s disciples, the one who sat at His feet and listened attentively to His word (Luke 10:39Matt. 26:1-13). Based on her appreciation of Him, Mary poured out her best on the Lord—a flask of precious ointment. It was all that she had. It was her appreciation for the Lord  Jesus that caused her to love Him with her best.

May we also make times simply to appreciate the Lord for who He is. This will cause our love for Him to grow.

The essence of this story is captured in the words of this hymn: “Mary poured out her love offering.”

2. To love the Lord Jesus is to direct our entire being toward Him.

 1 Cor. 2:9 says,

But as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not come up in man’s heart; things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”’

 Part of footnote 3 on 1 Cor. 2:9 in the Recovery Version says,

 “…To love God means to set our entire being—spirit, soul, and body, with the heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30)—absolutely on Him, that is, to let our entire being be occupied by Him and lost in Him, so that He becomes everything to us and we are one with Him practically in our daily life. In this way we have the closest and most intimate fellowship with God, and we are able to enter into His heart and apprehend all its secrets (Psa. 73:25; 25:14)…”

3. To love the Lord is to fully open ourselves to Him.

Every morning we need to open our whole being to the Lord Jesus. This should be our spiritual deep breathing. We breathe out all that we are and breathe in all that He is. This is to love the Lord Jesus.

One of my favorite hymns on loving Christ—”Jesus Lord, I’m Captured by Thy Beauty,” sweetly expresses this sentiment in its first stanza,

Jesus Lord, I’m captured by Thy beauty,
All my heart to Thee I open wide;
Now set free from all religious duty,
Only let me in Thyself abide.
As I’m gazing here upon Thy glory,
Fill my heart with radiancy divine;
Saturate me, Lord, I now implore Thee,
Mingle now Thy Spirit, Lord, with mine.

It would be very helpful to make the words of this stanza your personal prayer to the Lord Jesus. Opening to the Lord in such a way is a further expression of your love for Him.

4. To love the Lord Jesus is to enjoy Him.

After we’ve opened to the Lord, we need to remain with Him in our spirit to enjoy Him. At such times, our concerns and even our work for Him may become a distraction.

The example of the two sisters, Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42, is an excellent lesson for us all. Both sisters had Christ with them, but Martha was drawn about with much serving. Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to His word.

“The Lord prefers that His saved ones who love Him listen to Him that they may know His desire, rather than do things for Him without knowing His will.”  (Luke 10:42, note 1)

Stop to make daily times to enjoy the Lord by listening to Him in His word. This also is to love Him.

5. To love the Lord is to give Him the first place in all things.

In Col. 1:18 Paul said,

“…He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things.”

When we’re freshly enjoying the Lord, we desire to give Him the first place in every aspect of our lives. We want Him to be our first and best love (Rev. 2:4).

6. To love the Lord is to be one with Him.

We love the Lord by practicing to be one with Him in our living. First Corinthians 6:17 says,

“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.”

This real love is only found in our union with the Lord Jesus,  by remaining in one spirit with Him.

7. To love the Lord Jesus is to live Him.

When we’re loving the Lord, remaining in one spirit with Him, we spontaneously “live Him.”

As the apostle Paul was expecting to be martyred for his Master, he said,

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21)

May our loving the Lord Jesus, progress to the point that we simply “live Christ.” Because we love Him, we would often check, “Lord is this You? Lord are You thinking this…saying this…or going there?”

This short song, “Lord, I’ve set my heart; I just love You,” expresses this aspect of loving and living Christ.

8. To love the Lord is to become Him.

Finally, as we’re loving the Lord, we simply become Him in His nature of love.

Another excellent hymn expresses this by saying,

What e’er thou lovest, man,
Thou too become thou must;
God if thou lovest God,
dust it thou lovest dust.

Of course we will never become Him in His Godhead, but as this hymn points out, by loving Him we become Him in His life and nature (2 Pet. 1:4)–especially in His love.

May we exercise to love the Lord to such an extent that His essence of love becomes the real content  expressed in our lives enabling us to grow into Him in all things (Eph. 4:15), build up His Body (v. 16b), and walk in love (5:2) to express Him as love to all the people we meet in our daily living.

If you’ve experienced the One who is real love filling you with Himself as love, please express your appreciation in a comment to this post.

References and further Resources:

  • Inspiration for this post came from sharing by Ron Kangas in a ministry message entitled, “The Triune God Being Life to Us through Our Exercise of Faith to Receive Him and of Love to Enjoy Him.”
  • For more appreciation of how God can become our contents, you may want view this video: The God-shaped Vacuum.
  • Photo Credit: Clark Russell

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

2 Replies

  1. Beatriz

    How would you explain Ro 9:13?

    Thank you

    1. Tom Smith

      Romans 9:13 says, “As it is written, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” To understand this verse, we need to read it in its context. It is a part of the section of the book of Romans on God’s selection (chapters 9-11). And God’s selection is of God who calls.

      Verse 11 said, “that the purpose of God according to selection might remain, not of works but of Him who calls.” In Genesis 25:23, before Esau and Jacob were born, God had already said to Rebecca, “The greater shall serve the less” (Rom. 9:12).

      This indicated that it was not a matter of Jacob’s cleverness to get the birthright, nor of Rebecca’s deception to gain for Jacob the blessing of the firstborn. All that was unnecessary since God had already chosen Jacob.

      As believers in Christ, we need to appreciate God’s selection. His selection is not of our works but of the Lord who calls us and shows mercy to us. We should worship God for selecting us (Eph. 1:4-5). When we see it, we will not be be proud–for we did nothing to deserve it. Rather, we will gratefully cooperate with God so that He can carry out the purpose of His selection in us.

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