When you think of God, what do you picture? What kind of God comes to mind? Some picture a distant, obscure figure hidden in the clouds. Others, a harsh dictator who is demanding and swift with judgment. Some picture an out-of-touch old man who is of little relevance to them personally. But what does the Bible say? John gives a pretty good description of God in just three short words . . .
“God is love.”
One of the most well-known and shortest phrases of the Bible, yet one with a powerful message. One of my favorite exercises is to read it through several times, putting the emphasis on a different word each time.
God is love.
God is love.
God is love.
If you’re a grammarian like me, then you know what type of verb is used in this verse: a linking verb. (I love grammar. I love studying it and writing about it, so if you would indulge me for just a moment, let me share why this verse just jumps off the page at me.)
According to mydictionary.com a linking verb is “sometimes described as performing the function of an equal sign because they provide the connection between a subject and a certain state.”
An equal sign? Let’s see it in our verse:
God = Love.
How cool is that??
But what does a loving God look like? What exactly is love?
Did you know that love is patient and kind? True love isn’t arrogant or even rude. How do I know that? (hint: not from my dictionary app!) The definition of love comes straight from the Bible. Look at this description from 1 Corinthians 13 –
- Love is patient and kind;
- Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.
- It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.
- It does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
- Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
- Love never ends.
Now, remember our verse? God is love. God = love.
So, let’s replace the word love with God.
- God is patient and kind;
- God does not envy or boast; He is not arrogant or rude.
- He does not insist on His own way; He is not irritable or resentful.
- He does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
- God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
- God never ends.
So, when you think of God, what do you picture? Do you picture a God of patience and kindness? One who bears all things and endures all things? That is who He is—it’s what He does. His love compelled Him to send His only Son to endure an agonizing death on the cross for us. The expression of that love gives us full access to the throne of grace, where we too can call upon Him as our Father. Do you know what it is like to be loved unconditionally?
I came across an interesting quote that I think ties in perfectly with the point I am trying to make: “The best way to find love is to find God.”
That’s it. That’s all there is to it. You won’t see that real kind of love in even the sappiest of chick-flicks. You won’t find it from someone you “kind-of-like.” You won’t even find it from your closest friends. To find love is to find God because he is the definition and epitome of love. In fact, that is how we recognize God, or should recognize him: from His love.
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8 ESV)