God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life...Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.
The entire law of the Old Testament is fulfilled in love, in Jesus. And the New Testament says that Christians can be identified by their love for one another (are you ever recognized as a Christian by a stranger?). The amount of love you have is in direct proportion to how subject you are to God's will in your life, how obedient you are.
We often think of love as an emotion. But, real love transcends emotion, which is an involuntary feeling. Love is a voluntary choice, a decision, an act of the will. It therefore contains a moral aspect: intent. It is the choice of the intellect, made out of devotion to God. It is the conscious choice to obey (for the intrinsic value inherent in obedience to God), and it is the result of true repentance.
The virtue of that choice brings forth a feeling, a deep sense of joy. But feelings are fleeting. Love must operate above feeling. It must be reliable enough to sustain whatever cross we are called upon to bear in life. And the crosses of others. Regardless of how we feel about it.
This choice to love evokes true concern for others, is happy at their good fortune, without the slightest envy, and truly grieves at their unhappiness. It does not matter who they are, or what their station in life. The lowliest person's welfare will be as important as that of the most eminent. The fact that he is a creature of God is reason enough to love.
Even enemies, or those who have mistreated us, fall under the cloak of love. In spite of the damage done to us, in spite of what we feel, God's love in us will have us "pray for them that hate you, and do good to them that despitefully use and persecute you."
This love is active, not passive. It energetically seeks the welfare of the other person. It becomes one's natural reaction. The result of obedience. The human nature, through obedience, is transformed and takes on the character of God. Of love.
Love is merciful. It does not demand the deserved punishment. It is not only ready - but eager - to forgive.
Love is truthful. It even speaks with candor, because it resides in the reality of truth and does not try to change unpleasant facts. In fact, it requires truth.
Love is patient. Not necessarily a calm, unruffled facade. Rather, it exhibits perseverance under trial, bearing up with a steadfastness of purpose that is rooted in complete trust in God.
Love is kind, with a meek spirit that bears injurious treatment. Love is more than kind; it is even long suffering.
Love is humble, that modest and unassuming state of mind that is not driven by ambition or recognition, but accepts itself as a sinner saved by grace.
Love is stable. It is evidence of a new nature, a new creature, a new heart, a new life.
Love is not possible for an individual without God, who is love, and who is the only source available to provide it.
Love is a miracle of transformation which is available to you. All you need do is ask the One who died for you..