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  • Writer's pictureJenna

What is True Love?

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6).


Love Rejoices with the Truth


"Truth and Love are wings that cannot be separated, for Truth without Love is not able to fly, so too, Love without Truth is unable to soar up, for their yoke is one of harmony." - Ephraim the Syrian

Jesus told us to come to Him just as we are. Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). However, Jesus didn’t tell us to come to Him just as we are so that we could stay that way. Jesus didn't come to affirm us in our sins and accept us just the way we are. He came to save us from our sins, call us to repentance and faith, and transform our hearts to live a life that is glorifying to God. That’s what a true friend does, and that’s what true love is. Love does not delight at wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6). True love points us away from sin and death and points us to Christ and eternal life. The Truth may be offensive to many who still believe the lies of this world and love their sin, but when told in love, the Truth is the most loving thing there is. The Truth is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

What is True Love?

Biblical love is not empty sentimentalism but is deeply secured in the truths of Scripture and governed by it. Love is not just a fuzzy feeling or a mere abstraction, but it’s an action.


Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).


So, this is what Scripture says about true love:


Because I love you, I am patient with you. I am kind to you.


Because I love you, I am not envious of the good things that happen to you. I am not jealous of your happiness, your talents, or your achievements.


Because I love you, I don't show off or brag about my own talents, achievements, or promotions around you.


Because I love you, I am not arrogant with what I have, what I know, what I can do, or who I am, for I know every good thing I have is a gift from above. Nothing good originates from me but only by the grace of God.


Because I love you, I do not act in an unattractive way around you when I don't get my way. I don't act in an unbecoming way around you when you say something wrong that may offend me. Because I love you, I am never provoked.


Because I love you, I never insist on my own way. I only try to seek your good, never my own. And when I don't get my way, I am not angry, irritated, or resentful toward you. That's because I love you.


Because I love you, I've never held on to any record of wrongs. I never bring them up to remind you of your shortcomings and failures. The moment you do something wrong to me, I forgive it and also forget it. That's because I love you.


Because I love you, I never delight in sin, lies, or wrongdoing, but I always rejoice in the truth. Because I love you, I gently point out your sins, not out of my own pride or so that it may benefit me. But I point out your sins from a place of humility and gentleness, that it may help you, guide you, and protect you.


Because I love you, I bear all things. I bear all your shortcomings, annoyances, quirks, faults, and failures.


Because I love you, I also believe all things. I give you the benefit of the doubt. When you say you're going to do something, or when you say you're going to change for the better, I believe you. I don't doubt you. When you say you're sorry, I believe you. I don't challenge you. I don't say that you've already said that a hundred times. I support you and trust you in what you say, even if you've said the same thing over a hundred times.


Because I love you, I endure all things. I endure whatever you might bring up or throw at me. I endure all things because my love never fails. My love never ends for all eternity. My love just keeps going and going and going...


Love is Not Blind


Biblical love is devoted to the truth in everything. Love is not blind but perceptive, and it carefully discerns between truth from error, right from wrong, right from almost right. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, (Philippians 1:9).


Discernment is having moral perception and insight. Discernment is having the ability to apply the knowledge of the truth to all sorts of situations in life. It is having wisdom through knowing Jesus Christ, the highest, truest, purest form of wisdom that exists. True love is discerning, and we can only be truly discerning and know what is excellent in the eyes of God when we know Jesus Christ. Knowing Jesus is not just an intellectual assent that He is the Son of God or that He died on the cross for our sins and rose again. For even demons believe that. Knowing Jesus is trusting in Him solely for salvation and walking in loving obedience to His word, by His grace through childlike faith. By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments (1 John 2:23). The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is insight (Proverbs 9:10). Insight here means discernment.


Love is Discerning


Without knowing Jesus, the Truth incarnate, we have no true spiritual discernment. Jesus is our rock and foundation in which we stand on when we discern what is pleasing in God’s eyes and what isn’t. How we come to truly know and trust Jesus is through the Word by the Holy Spirit. When we immerse ourselves in Scripture, our minds become renewed by God's truth. When we know God's truth is when we are able to discern God’s will for our lives. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). This kind of transformation happens as the Holy Spirit changes our thinking through consistent study and meditation of Scripture. A renewed mind is a mind that is saturated with the Word of God and regulated by it. What is good, acceptable, and perfect means the kind of holy living that God approves of for His children in His kingdom.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). Many think that if we love, we shouldn't hate anything, but that's just sentimentality. Scripture makes it clear that "love does not rejoice at wrongdoing." We can’t sincerely love the pure things of God that are good, right, and true while also loving and giving approval to all that contradicts those things.


We must never love or be entertained by the things for which Christ died. God hates sin, and if we love God, we ought to hate sin too. When we are born again, God puts His Spirit in us, and that's when we begin loving righteousness and hating the sin we once loved before our conversion. By God's grace, this miraculous heart change naturally manifests itself outwards into transformed lives and loving obedience to God's word, in which we walk in a manner that is worthy of the gospel and pleasing to God.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I praise You for loving me with an eternal love. You showed Your love for me when You sent Your beloved Son Jesus to die for sinners like me (Romans 5:8). Jesus took the full punishment for my sins on the cross and rose again that I may have eternal life, by grace through faith. I did nothing to earn Your love or Your favor, and I contribute nothing to my salvation. I am saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, all because You loved me and chose me before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Eternal life is a free gift, not because of who I am or anything that I can do, but it’s because of who God is. God is love. And we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Lord, I just find it so amazing that You love each and every one of Your children as if there were only one of us.

Lord, I ask You for wisdom and discernment. Help draw me to Your Word more and more, for that is where I come to know Jesus more and more. Help me to know Your truth that I may discern Your will and walk in love, joyfully sharing the truth of Jesus Christ with others.


All glory belongs to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This I pray in Jesus' name, amen.


With love,

Jenna


so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19).

 

For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him (John 3:16-17).


For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).


And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20


“Someone once told me, 'God doesn’t hate, God is love!' No, my friend, God is love, therefore God must hate. If I love life, then I must hate death. If I love babies, then I must hate abortion. If I love Jews, then I must hate the Holocaust. If I love African Americans, then I must hate slavery. If you truly do love that which is right, that which is perfect, that which is good, there is also an animosity, an enmity, against all that, that contradicts that standard. God loves all that is right, all that is true, all that is good, all that is virtuous, but Scripture after Scripture after Scripture tells us that His hatred is manifest against wickedness.” - Paul Washer

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