The ‘Divine Attribute of Love’ and the diamond of Christian Character
“Love of Christ so freely given, Grace of God beyond degree, Mercy higher than the Heaven, Deeper than the Rolling Sea.” So wrote the hymn writer.
There is an essential attribute of God; a force; a feeling, a powerful and dominant desire that in its identity is completely unselfish, its very nature is giving; it cannot lie quiescent or passive – but is active. One of the greatest powers on earth is that feeling of fondness, that tender regard we call love; that mysterious inherent force that causes us to form strong attachments and affection towards people. When one reads the biographies of the great missionaries, one cannot escape but recognise the one characteristic that dominated their lives.
‘Love’ David Livingstone became a legend in his time, for it was said of him that as he travelled throughout darkest Africa, discovering New Territory and making history, the native drums that were beating his journeys were nothing compared to the love that beat in his heart. History recalls that although they did not understand him, he had a universal language of love that he carried with him everywhere he went. Long after his death, people remembered the kind, warm hearted white man who once passed by. Love carries its own unconscious eloquence that pours forth its influence, not only to those around us, but to the very heart of God himself – for ‘God is Love.’
We must remember that we cannot walk with Christ and have small hearts. We can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving. Paul writes, “Not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many”, therefore we must be on our guard against the false enthusiasm that professes to burn for God, yet remains indifferent to people’s needs. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian Church was “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that you being rooted and grounded in love.” We can possess the gifted tongue of the orator; the great gift of prophecy; great faith and much more, but without love they are worthless.
Divine Love is bottomless, shoreless, immeasurable and outside the grasp of all understanding. Its limits are unfathomable; it is love abounding; beyond all measure, eternal, uncreated full and free. Charles Wesley was so caught up with this great love story that he was inspired to write these tremendous words:
“Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven to earth come down, fix in us your humble dwelling, all your faithful mercies crown. Jesus you are all compassion, pure, unbounded love you are; visit us with your salvation, enter every trembling heart.”
The true test of our Christianity is ‘love’, for how can we know God and not love? How can we walk with God and not feel His compassion. The fruits of Love are patience, kindness, generosity, humility, courtesy, unselfishness and sincerity. Love is a Divine Attribute, and the reality of that love that we carry will be a true measure of our relationship with him; it is a standard bearer; it is the ‘diamond’ among the many gems of character. “Above all things have fervent love among your selves” Peter writes. God’s eternal plan for all of us is that we should be partakers of the ‘Divine Nature’ and that the beauty of the Lord is to be found in us, with the adorning of True Christian Love at its centre.
Faith is the vehicle by which a person becomes a Christian; hope is that which sustains him; but love is that which is going to influence, not only our own lives, but that of others. One day faith will be realised, hope will be fulfilled, but love shall never cease.
“And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is ‘Love’”
Every Blessing from Jack
Jack has been a faithful member of the Free Methodist Church for 34 years, spending many of those years in leadership. He lives in Lancashire, UK, and has recently celebrated 60 years as being a Christian! Find our more about Jack and the story behind Jack’s corner: Treasures of the Word here.