And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13
Love is a good thing. If you have ever been loved or loved someone, then you know this to be true. I have personally experienced the joy that comes from relational love. I was raised by a loving mother who personified the meaning of selfless love and I found true bliss when I met and married my best friend who has the kindest heart I know. Love is amazingly powerful and should be something that we all seek to cultivate. However, did you know that love is also necessary? It’s true. Love is necessary for you and for me. Love is not just a convenient want, rather it is an essential need for every human to live, grow, and thrive! You do not have to read very far into the Bible to realize this fact. Genesis 2:18 states, “And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’” God knew that it was not good for man to be alone. When God created us, He made us relational. We are designed by God to relate and love Him and others. Genesis 1:27 notes, “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” We were made in the image and likeness of God. Thus, we as humans reflect attributes of our creator – one of them being love. God is a relational Being. God eternally exists as a plurality of Persons. God consists of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each member of the Godhead relates, loves, and glorifies one another in perfect harmony. 1 John 4:8 notes, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Not only does God love, but He is the absolute essence of unconditional love. Anytime we choose not to love, we reject our creator and our purpose. Thus, love is necessary for us to reflect God’s image and act in accordance with our design.
However, love is not only necessary due to our design, but it is also a direct command from God. Matthew 22:36-40 states, “’Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’” When Christ was questioned about the most important commandment for humanity, He responded by commanding us to love. Love is the foundation of every commandment God has ever given. Likewise, love is an essential characteristic of Christ’s disciples. John 13:35 states, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” We cannot claim to be a follower of Christ if we do not serve and love others. Love is necessary to be a Christian. Read that again. You cannot be a Christian without love! Jesus made it clear that love was the cornerstone of His life and ministry. If you reject love, you reject your identity in Christ.
Last, but not least, love is necessary for salvation. John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The heart and soul of the gospel message is love. The reason God sent His Son was because He loves you. Christ demonstrated that love is more than a passing feeling or an emotion. Jesus showed us that love is an action. John 15:13 states, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Jesus suffered and died on the cross and received the punishment for our sins because of His love for you. Because of love we can live. Thus, love is more than a good thing – love is necessary. Let us rejoice in the necessity of love and praise God for His loving kindness.