Love – The Greatest Gift

On 14th February many countries in the western world celebrate ‘Valentine’s Day,’ but this week I have taken the opportunity to distribute colourful handcrafted bookmarks to my local library, bearing verses about ‘the greatest love of all.’ Here are some of them…

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1Cor. 13v13)

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1John 4v10)

“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” (Proverbs 10v12)

“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love, but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends. (Proverbs 17v9)

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” (1Cor. 13 v4)

“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that ye should love one another.” (1John 3v11)

Perhaps the most well known verse telling of God’s love for the world is John 3v16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The love of God is surely second to none and the greatest gift that His followers can possess is to love Him in return and, as a result of this, to be filled with His love for others.

God, whose infinite love for us excels all loves, must be our first love; for “He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” (Matt. 10v38).  When we put Him first in our lives, then He will put a love in our hearts for even the unlovely and those who revile us. He truly wants to be our closest Friend, above all others and we can trust Him with our deepest, most painful secrets. “There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother,” we learn in Proverbs 18v24. He wants, above all, to break the power of sin in our lives, so that we might not be “conformed to this world: … but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  (Romans 12v2).

There are many religions in our world, but how many of these portray the depths of love that is revealed in God’s love for the world, when He gave His only Son Jesus to be its Saviour? For example, the Koran tells us that: “God is great,” while the Bible tells us that “God is love.”

“Greater love hath no man than this,” said Jesus, “that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  (John 15v13). Why not trust this Friend, whose love excels all loves?  If you do so, He will want to shed His love abroad in your heart: “that perfect love which casteth out fear.” (1 John 4v18). “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1Cor. 13v12&13).

There is no greater gift than love,

Pure, undefiled, sent from above…

So ask thy Saviour to impart,

His gift of love to fill thy heart.

© Elizabeth Burke

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