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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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As we already know, the primary goal of every believer is to put others before self (Phl 2:3). This is the priority for those who desire to put God first because it is how we “keep” His “commands” (John 14:15), which are summed up into one—namely “love one another” (John 15:12, 17). Therefore to love God is to love others, and anything short of this intention is merely immaturity concerning our “growing up into Him in all things” (Eph 4:15).

 

Until this is our intention in what we do we cannot rightly “walk in the Spirit,” for “love” is the foremost “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5:22)! Thus, it can be safely assumed that love to others is the greatest work of God within a soul; it undoubtedly is the spiritual growth determinant of the saint.

 

Though our practical love to others cannot be continuous (due to the old man), the desire for it should ever be final, manifesting at least to self, God’s “work” in us (Phl 2:13). The disappointment in this inconsistency can be compensated by being encouraged to know that God knows (because He puts it in you) your overall intention is love to others. To me this can be seen similar to Peter (I believe) being encouraged in knowing Christ knew he loved Him when he appealed to Jesus in answering Him a third time  with, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee” (John 21:15-17).

 

I believe “love” was Apostle John’s prominent attribute which God had worked in his life, which is seen dominant in his writings, and could have been why he was Jesus’ favorite (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7, 20, 24). Not that He loved John more than any other, “but as a man, He had a particular affection for this disciple” – J G.

 

As we seek God to make neighborly love a priority in our lives, let us be patient while we see Him gradually and assuredly working it to be not only desirable, but more importantly—practical in our walk with Him. Thank God that we know that He knows that we love Him above all, and it is this ultimatum that makes our love to all others an ever-conscious priority!

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I like how Peter says we are to love one another fervently from the heart (1 Peter 1:22).

 

Help us O Lord to keep our love blazing for You and one another.

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7 hours ago, Faber said:

I like how Peter says we are to love one another fervently from the heart (1 Peter 1:22).

 

Help us O Lord to keep our love blazing for You and one another.

Amen, and that's love from the new nature (vs 23). Thanks for you reply and God bless!

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