I want to say that love is THE defining trait of God. But, the truth is, He’s big. He’s a lot of things. He isn’t just one thing. He’s all of it, all the time. When I think about love being THE defining trait of God, I am thinking about how love is what God does.
He is just. He is good. He is powerful. He is wise. Those are all adjectives. Love is a verb. He loves us. The great God who is all these things we’ll learn about LOVES. He loves. He loves His children. He loves His enemies. He can’t not love, or He’d cease being God because God is love.
Now, to be clear, 2 + 3 = 5 and 5 = 3 + 2, but though God is love; love isn’t God. Love isn’t some weird “God force” out there in the world.
God is loving when He orders His destructive wrath. He’s protecting His children. He loves them fiercely. God is loving when He allows suffering for His good and loving reasons. One reason might be for discipline; a good parent disciplines his children because He loves them and wants the best for them.
God is loving when He provides blessing upon blessing for His children. God is loving when He takes care of His children even after they’ve sinned; think of God making clothes for Adam and Eve. The ultimate show of love was Jesus dying on the cross for His enemies. He gave up His life for a bunch of sinners.
Look at this picture of love, the closeness of Jesus and the disciple John. Jesus was God. This is a picture of God with us.
John 13:25 (NASB) [John] then simply leaned back on Jesus’ chest and said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”
Do you have a question for Jesus? You can lean back, rest your head on His chest, and ask and have a conversation. Jesus came to be Immanuel, God with us. Why? He loves us. He wants to be with us! He’s preparing Himself a bride to love for eternity!
Read the verses and state what they are teaching.
1 John 4:16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
Psalm 18:17, 19 He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
Genesis 3:21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
Romans 5:8 (NASB) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
John 15:13 (NLT) There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
2 Corinthians 11:2 (NLT) For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.
Revelation 19:7 (NLT) Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself.
Hebrews 12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.
Lesson Point: God is love and we can trust that He is being loving.
Challenge Question: Make it your prayer that you would live loved and to live to love. What would your life look like if that’s how you lived?