Love is another key force in prayer. Faith works by love. God’s will is that we love.
Love is a key in overcoming fear.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: (1 John 4:18)
What is love?
Love is a manner of life: the way a person prays, plans, acts, speaks, thinks, desires, and believes.
Love is a manner of life characterized by an active desire that others live lives of shalom (peace, tranquility, safety, well- being, welfare, health, contentment, success, comfort, wholeness and integrity., truth, prosperity, right relationships between themselves, God, their neighbors, and creation.
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. (2 John 1:4)
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 1:4)
I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2)
Love is also a manner of life characterized by obedience to God.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. (1 John 5:2-3)
And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments. (2 John 1:6)
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. (John 14:21)
Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. (John 14:23)
Think about the examples of Achan, Dathan and Abiram. Achan took things devoted to destruction. As a result of this he, his wife, his sons, and his daughters were destroyed. (Joshua 7) Achan’s disobedience was not in keeping with love for his family.
Dathan and Abiram rebelled against Moses. They, their wives, their sons, and their little ones were also destroyed. (Numbers 16)
How do we grow in love?
Growing in love is a matter of changing the manner of our lives. We need to turn away from other ways of living: selfishness and hate.
We tend to think of hate as the opposite of love, but selfishness is also an opposite.
Love is a manner of life characterized by an active desire that others live lives of shalom. Complete love does this without regard to one’s own life. (This is a key part of overcoming fear). Jesus certainly loved us without regard to his life.
Selfishness is a manner of life characterized by an active desire to live a life of shalom. Complete selfishness does this without regard to the lives of others.
Hate is a manner of life characterized by an active desire to see someone else not have a life of shalom. Complete hate does this without regard to one’s own life.
We need to turn away from the paths of selfishness and hate. We need to trust God for our own lives and put away regard for our own lives.
We do these things by
asking God to send the Spirit of Truth to guide us into the truth of love and growing in love
choosing fear of the Lord,
sowing the Word of God into our hearts to produce the faith we need to put away regard for our own lives
sowing the Word of God into our hearts to produce love itself
paying attention to people and their needs
valuing shalom (peace, health, truth, prosperity, right relationships)
Asking God to send the Spirit of Truth
From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the air. ... God understands the way to it, and he knows its place. For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. (Job 28:20, 21, 23, 24)
God knows what love is and the most effective way for each of us to grow in love. We need him to direct our path in growing in love. (and all other things pertaining to life and godliness)
Choosing fear of the Lord
We might not associate the fear of the Lord with love. Yet it is. Fear of the Lord leads to obeying God and obeying God is a key characteristic of love. Fear of the Lord teaches us that our survival depends on God’s love guiding us from the snares of death and destruction. This leads to our valuing God and his guidance. It moves us towards a right - shalom - relationship with God and others.
Sowing the Word to produce love
We grow in love according to the same principle we use to increase in faith. We grow in faith by examining the testimony of the Word of God regarding the specific area in which we need to grow. We grow in love the same way: we examine the testimony of the Word of God that reveals love in that area.
One key to growing in love is reading the New Testament, particularly the Gospels. It reveals to us the true nature of love and testifies regarding Jesus’ love for us - and we are commanded to love others as Jesus loves us.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
Paying attention to people and their needs
Jesus paid attention to people and their needs. The Bible records that when he did he was moved with compassion.
When he saw the crowds, he was deeply moved with compassion for them, because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
When we pay attention to people and their needs we are moved to contribute to shalom in their lives - health, prosperity, peace, truth, and love. When we do this we grow in love.
A key characteristic of love is that we walk in shalom (peace, tranquility, safety, well- being, welfare, health, contentment, success, comfort, wholeness and integrity., truth, prosperity, right relationships between ourselves, God, our neighbors, and creation) and contribute to shalom in the lives of others. This requires that we appropriately value peace, health, truth, right relationships, God, our neighbors, and creation. Some of this can be done by examining scripture, some by observation, and some by contemplation of their importance to ourselves and others.
We are commanded to love
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39)
The second commandment has been replaced with a new one.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34)
Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. (Ephesians 5:2)