What Is Love? A Christian Perspective

“Love is like sneezing in public: it catches you off guard, spreads quickly, and is impossible to hold back once it starts.” 

While we may find the humor in this statement, the impact and significance of love in our lives is what many long for and others cherish day by day. Love is more than just emotion, love is a misunderstood, complex, yet necessary part of our existence. In our free online e-book, we talk about Christians who are called to love in this world, and we believe that we should do that just as Christ loved us. 

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 

1 John 4:8

But what is love? And what does it mean that God demonstrates His own love for us (Romans 5:8)? You see, culture often teaches that love has the idea of increasing someone’s self-esteem. Almost the idea of helping others feel good about themselves or helping them like what they see or want. The problem with that is Scripture does not teach that idea of love. Instead, scripture teaches that love is doing what is best for someone, despite the pain that may ensue. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the life of Christ.  

Romans 5:8 reads, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That love that God demonstrated is His agape love. Theologians refer to the agape love of God as an unconditional love, a love that loves what is best for you despite the pain that it may cause. Agape love is a love that is not contingent upon anything.  

Christ demonstrated His great love by dying for our sins, even when we didn’t deserve it. While we were in opposition to His sacrifice, He still died. While there are those that still hate Him, He still died for them. Christ knew that love is not about making ourselves the object of our affections.     

Now having understood this great love, we have tremendous responsibility to both accept and demonstrate this love. Accepting God’s love is an act of humility and trust. It requires us to acknowledge our need for God and to believe that His love for us is unconditional, unearned, and freely given. This can be a profound challenge, as it goes against the grain of a world that often conditions love on merit or reciprocity. Accepting God’s love means believing that we are loved by God exactly as we are, with all our flaws and failures.  

It is embracing the truth that God’s love is not a response to our goodness but a reflection of His own nature. 

The natural overflow of accepting God’s love is to demonstrate that love in how we live. John’s letter makes it clear: if we live in God, and God lives in us, then His love will be made complete in us as we love others. Here are ways we can actively demonstrate God’s love:  

  • Forgiveness: Reflect God’s grace by forgiving others. It heals relationships and showcases the transformative power of love. 
  • Sacrifice: Prioritize the needs of others, sharing your resources and time generously, just as Jesus did for us. 
  • Truth in Love: Speak honestly but with kindness, fostering growth and unity within the Christian community. 
  • Community Engagement: Volunteer locally to address community needs, from food drives to supporting shelters, embodying Jesus’ call to serve the least among us. 
  • Mentorship: Guide young believers, sharing insights and encouragement as they grow in their faith journey. Learn about our online mentorship program here. 
  • Global Service: Participate in mission trips to support vulnerable communities, broadening your impact and understanding of global Christianity. Explore our upcoming trips to the Bahamas here. 

The most important things to remember about the love of God is that it is both unconditional and cyclical. As we experience this underserved love, we understand it more deeply, and it empowers us to live more passionately. This cycle of love enriches our lives, transforms our communities, and bears witness to the love of God in a world that desperately needs it. 

The call to accept and demonstrate God’s love is not a burden but a gift. It frees us from the confines of self-centeredness and invites us into the expansiveness of a love that transcends understanding. As we live in the reality that God is love, and as we allow that love to be made complete in us, we become beacons of hope, agents of change, and reflections of God’s love in the world. 

To learn more about how you can accept and demonstrate God’s love in your life and community, take time to explore our free e-book about love. Together, we can show God’s love and make a difference in the lives of others.  

Luke Morgan
Luke is a Passion Driven Intern. He is pursuing a Master's in Business Administration as well as a Master's in Intercultural Commerce. Luke uses his skills in those areas and his love for Christ to help the mission of advancing the faith!