1 John 4:7-11
JESUS CHRIST said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another: By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).
Jesus Christ and His teachings tower over the landscape of human life and history as Mount Everest would on a Florida beach.
Frogs now chirp in the tall grass that grows where the voices of powerful men once were heard on the sight of the ancient city once known as "Babylon the Great."
The splendor of Rome where her senate once debated the fate of the world now lies in ruins.
The artistic beauty of the greatly admired Athens has atrophied. Her philosopher's voices silenced.
Yet, the teachings of Christ still influence more people in our contemporary society than all their wisdom combined. Why?
A statement attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte gives us our answer: "The Caesar's, Kahn's, and Pharaoh's kingdoms have failed. For we have built our kingdoms by the sword, but the kingdom of Christ was built on love."
The magazine Psychology Today recently ran a feature article on "The Ideal Man." The article was a report on an extensive written survey involving a vast cross segment of Americans. Among men and women the ideal man identified by their readers was Jesus Christ. His personal love for us and His teaching about love endears Him to millions.
There is a contemporary line, "Everybody loves a lover."
Love has spawned a new industry. Immediately after December 25, stores start putting up Valentines decorations. Flowers, candy, and cards attest of professed love. Tradition says there was a saintly individual named Valentine who around 449 AD was imprisoned for not worshiping pagan gods. On the eve of his execution he sent a note to the jailor's daughter who had befriended him expressing his appreciation. He signed it "Your Valentine." Allegedly that was the first of many Valentine cards. With words varying from sentiment to humor, love is expressed. Words such as: "Roses are red, violets are blue. Your mother was beautiful, what happened to you?
Everybody loves to be loved. To be loved you have to love. Back comes the weary question, "How do you love?".
First, in our confused society we would do well to define love. The New Testament word for it most often used is AGAPE. It is selfless love such as God has for us. It is unconquerable benevolence, invincible good will. The love of which I speak is not an emotion to be aroused. It is a principle we deliberately live by. It is a spontaneous self-giving without regard for merit.