The Supremacy of Love

“Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (I Cor 13:13).  At the center of the supernatural Christian life is the desire and ability to love as God loves.  In His essence, God is love (I Jn 4:8).  And as His children, love should be our essence as well.  The apostle, John, describes the connection between God’s love toward us and our love toward one another in I John chapter 4.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (I Jn 4:7-11).

John brackets this passage with the command to love one another.  In between, he explains the foundation for our expressive love is the love of God Himself.  The clearest demonstration of God’s love for us is mentioned twice in this short passage; God sent His Son to be the payment for our sins that we might live through Him.  Love of that magnitude is the model for us to love as God loves.

This is all well and good, but in a culture that thrives on measures of success, how do we measure love?  In reference to the desert mothers and fathers (circa 300 AD), Roberta Bondi writes in To Love as God Loves, “It is true that the distinction between having perfect love as the real goal of the Christian life and the disciplines designed to foster that love was sometimes lost.  Some brothers and sisters probably never knew any better; others did what human beings of all periods do: they simply forgot their goal, confusing their means with their ends…No amount of pious behavior or Christian discipline can replace love.”

I can measure pious behavior.  I can measure Christian disciplines.  I cannot measure love.  But our call is to embrace and practice a love that is beyond measure.  So set the yard stick aside and dive into the vast love of God.  Enjoy it deeply.  Distribute it widely.  “And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Col 3:14).  This is the supremacy of love.