The word "love" is often used without much thought. We use it to describe our affections for everything from people ("I love Bette Midler") to food items ("I love chocolate ice cream") to items of clothing ("I love those shoes").
Human love is imperfect, and often based on how others respond to us and what others can do for us--a "strings-attached" kind of love.
Ah, but perfect love...
God Is Love.
"...God is love." (1 John 4:8b, NIV)
I've written other blog posts on who God is. (If you're interested you can find them at: http://wordvessel.blogspot.com/2009/01/one-and-only-god.html and http://wordvessel.blogspot.com/2009/01/one-and-only-god-part-2.html.)
But if I had to choose one defining characteristic about who God is, that characteristic would be love. God IS love. He never acts outside of his love. He can't, because He is love.
(A personal note here: One of my earliest memories is sitting in church next to my paternal grandmother, copying the words "God is love." She had written the words on a sheet of paper to keep me occupied during church.)
God's love is unconditional.
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8, NIV)
He loves us in spite of who we are and what we've done. There's nothing we can ever do to make Him love us more. There's nothing we can ever do to make Him love us less.
God's love for us prompted Him to give His very best.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16, NIV)
"This is how God showed His love among us; He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love; not that we loved God, but that He loves us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (1 John 4:9-10, NIV)
God's love was best demonstrated by what Jesus did for us on the cross. The cross was God's way of saying "I love you."
God's love never ends.
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV)
His love knows no limits. You can't reach the top or bottom of it. You can't find the beginning or end of it. It's as vast as God Himself.
Nothing can separate us from God's love.
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39, NIV)
Because God's love is so vast, nothing can pull us away from his bountiful love for us.
Dear heavenly Father, How blessed we are to be created and loved by You. Lord, we can't even begin to scratch the surface of Your love. We can't begin to comprehend it. All we can do is say "thank You." Father, help us to live our lives in light of Your great love. Help us to share Your love with others. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
For God so loVed the world,
That He gAve
Believeth In Him
Should Not perish,
But have Everlasting life."