There are 7958 verses in the New Testament. 87 of them mention
baptism; thatís 1.09% or about 1 out of 100. 52 verses mention
repentance; thatís .65% or about 1 out of 150. 16 verses mention
singing; thatís .2% or about 1 out of 500. 45 verses talk about
the Lordís Supper; thatís .56% or about 1 out of 175. Sin is
mentioned in 175 verses; thatís 2.2% or about 1 out of every 45.
However, love is mentioned in 233 verses; thatís 2.9% or about 1
out of every 33 verses that mention love. Certainly, the Bible
only has to mention something once for it to be important, but
when one out of every 33 verses mentions something, we need to
stand up and take notice. The Bible commands love, defines love,
exemplifies love, tells us who to love and what not to love. The
Bible talks about Godís love for us and our love for God. Jesus
said the greatest commandment is to love God and the second is to
love our neighbor (Matthew
Timothy 1:5 says the goal of our teaching is love. Galatians
5:22-23 starts the list of the Spiritís fruit in our
lives with love. II
Peter 1:5-10 caps off the list of characteristics that
make us fruitful, effective, and guarantees we wonít fall with
love. If we listed the most important things we must do, love
would surely top the list. However, we need to notice that love is
not simply something we are supposed to feel. Love is something we
are supposed to do. We mustnít simply be satisfied with feeling
the feelings of love and saying the words of love, we need learn
to take the actions of love as I
John 3:18 says, we must love in deed and in truth.
Love is an action, not just an attitude.
We often go to I
Corinthians 13:4-7 to define love. Interestingly, Paul
didnít say, ďLove feels sympathy, love feels compassion, love
feels empathyÖĒ When Paul defined love, he didnít tell us
about what kind of feelings we should have. Instead, he defined
love based upon what it does and what it does not do. Certainly, I
Corinthians 13:3 demonstrates love is not simply about
action. We can take what seem to be loving actions and not have
love. But we cannot claim to have love at all if we donít have
7:36-50, we see a great contrast of this. We see Simon the
Pharisee and a sinful woman. One of them loved Jesus a great deal
and one did not. How can we tell the difference? In their actions.
The woman anointed Jesus feet and washed them. Simon did the bare
minimum in his hospitality.
13:1, the text tells us Jesus loved His disciples to the
end. But this wasnít simply about what He felt. This was about
what He did. The text goes on to demonstrate that love by Jesusí
action of washing the disciples feet.
5:44, Jesus didnít simply say to love our enemies, He
added the action that would go along with that. We are to pray for
those who persecute us. In the parallel account of Luke
6:27-28, Jesus adds that loving our enemies means doing
good to them and blessing them.
As Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan to talk about
loving our neighbors in Luke
10:30-37, the decision about who was the neighbor who
loved was not about feelings. We donít know what kind of
sympathy or sadness any of the men felt. But we do know the
Samaritan proved to be the neighbor who loved because of what he
We could look at example after example after example of
this. Love is not simply an attitude but an action. Perhaps the
greatest example of this is seen in John
3:16. God didnít simply feel sorry for us. He didnít
simply feel sadness at our plight. He didnít simply feel joy
when good things happen to us. No. God loved us and He acted. He
loved us and therefore gave His only begotten Son so that we would
not perish but would have everlasting life.
We must take the actions of love.
Since we are commanded to love, we must learn to take the
actions of love. In fact, in one sense, that is all God has asked
us to do todayÖtake the actions of love.
Taking the actions of love is sometimes hard for us. Often
we want to take the actions of vengeance or we want to take the
actions of vindication. We donít want to show love, we want what
is fair. We want whatís coming to us and we want others to get
whatís coming to them. We fear that loving them is rewarding
them for their bad behavior so we want to take the actions of
bitterness and resentment, but God has asked us to take the
actions of love.
The Bible describes all kinds of people with whom we need
to take the actions of love.
When we see someone hurting, Luke
10:30-37 says we need to take the actions of love.
When someone is a brother or sister in Christ, Romans
12:10 says we need to take the actions of love.
When someone is asking questions about serving God, Mark
10:21 says we need to take the actions of love.
When people let us down, John
13:1ff says we need to take the actions of love.
When someone is a sinner, Romans
5:8 says we need to take the actions of love.
When our brother or sister is weak, Romans
14:15 says we need to take the actions of love.
When someone can do absolutely nothing for us, Luke
6:35 says we need to take the actions of love.
When someone is a leader in the congregation, I
Thessalonians 5:12-13 says we need to take the actions of
When someone is our wife, Ephesians
5:25 says we need to take the actions of love.
When someone is your husband, Titus
2:4 says you need to take the actions of love.
When someone is our child, Titus
2:4 says we need to take the actions of love.
When someone is our parent, I
Timothy 5:4 says we need to take the actions of love.
When someone is our enemy, Matthew
5:44 says we need to take the actions of love.
When someone doesnít love us, Matthew
5:46 says we need to take the actions of love.
The reality is, no matter what we are feeling, we need to
take the actions of love. We must not wait until we feel like
loving someone to take these actions. In fact, it has been my
experience that taking the actions will often lead to the
I canít help but think of passages like Ephesians
4:31. It says we must put away all bitterness, wrath,
anger, clamor, slander and malice. These are hard feelings to deal
with. When resentment rears its ugly head, the last thing we want
to do is love someone. But I have learned that when I follow Matthew
5:44 and love my enemies, that is, take the actions of
love toward those who have hurt me, angered me, even betrayed me,
then I am much more likely to put off the malice, anger, wrath,
and slander. That is when Iím able to put on compassion,
When things are going our way and when they arenít, when
people are going along with us and when they arenít, when we
feel like it and when we donít, the best course of action is
simply to take the actions of love. As someone once told me, when
I donít feel like it, just fake it, Ďtil you make it. Or act
as if. That is, how would I act if I really did love that person?
Act like that. We need to take the actions of love.
What are the actions of love?
gives a great summary of the actions of love. No matter what
someone has done to you or can do for you take these actions.
The people you love are going to make huge mistakes. Havenít you
done the same? Take the actions of love, take the actions of
Donít just have nice feelings for people; actually do kind
things for them. Donít wait until you will get credit, just do
nice things for them: prayers, notes, cards, acts of service, kind
words, encouragements, hospitality, generosity. Take the actions
of love; take the actions of kindness.
Love doesnít envy. It doesnít want to take from others or push
others down. Instead, love is happy to support others and lift
them up. Love is content with itself and generous to others. Love
is happy when things go well for others. Take the actions of love;
take the actions of support.
Love doesnít boast and is not arrogant. Demonstrate humility. Do
what you can to honor others. Lift them up instead of yourself.
Point others to look at them and show how great they are. Take the
actions of love; take the actions of humility and honor.
Love is not rude, or as some translations say, unseemly. Behave
properly towards others. Donít make those off-color flirtatious
comments that push the bounds of propriety. Take the actions of
love; take the actions of propriety.
Love does not insist upon its own way. Love doesnít say, ďMy
way or the highway.Ē Love does what is best for others and puts
others first. Take the actions of love; take the actions of
Love is not irritable or easily provoked. Love will therefore take
the actions of peace. It will not respond in kind when faced with
provocation but will give soft answers to turn away wrath. Take
the actions of love; take the actions of peace.
Love does not hold a grudge, bear resentment, or keep account of
wrongs suffered. Love will put the past in the past and work to
move into a positive future. Take the actions of love; take the
actions of forgiveness.
at the right things:
Love does not rejoice when someone is pursuing unrighteousness.
Love rejoices with truth. Love rejoices with righteousness. Love
doesnít try to be happy when someone is pursuing ungodliness.
That wouldnít be love. Certainly, in some relationships,
parenting for example, when someone pursues unrighteousness there
will be time for discipline. In the proper relationships,
discipline is not opposed to love. But love does rejoice with
those living by Godís standards. Take the actions of love; take
the actions of proper rejoicing.
The folks you are to love are going to face all kinds of
struggles, just like you and I do. They need someone to bear and
endure with them, to lift them up, support them, and help carry
them on. Take the actions of love; take the actions of
Give the folks you love the benefit of the doubt. Donít assume
the worst. Donít assume theyíll pursue the worst. Show them
you believe in them. Show them your hope for them. Take the
actions of love; take the actions of trust.
These things are not always easy. No doubt it is tough to
take the actions of love when someone is not taking the actions of
love toward us. But God has not asked us to treat others the way
they treated us. He has asked us to treat them the way we want to
be treated (Matthew
7:12). I have no doubt that we want others to take the
actions of love with us even when weíve messed up. We need to
take the actions of love with them.
13:8-10 says the only thing we should owe is to love
others. When we love our neighbors we will do them no wrong. Galatians
5:14 says the whole law is fulfilled when we love our
2:8 says we are fulfilling the royal law when we love our
neighbors as ourselves. Think about what this means. If what we
are most concerned about today is pleasing God and doing His will,
it will start and end with taking the actions of love. Look around
you today and this week. No matter what someone else does, take
the actions of love with them.
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ