Committed Love

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).

“Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:7-8).

At first it seems as though these verses are at odds with each other. On the one hand, love is not a new commandment, but on the other hand it is. Which is correct? Both are. God did emphasize love in the Old Testament, whether God’s or man’s (Lev 19:18; 1 Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 32:10).

Yet Jesus powerfully defines and demonstrates love in ways never before seen by man. In that sense, the love He speaks about is new. This “new” love leads us to committed relationships. We love people with a love deeper than the surface sort of love so common today. Love keeps loving, even though undeserved. Why? Because we ourselves do not deserve God’s love. In this sense, the quality of our love far surpasses that found in the world. John reminds us that those things that arise from the world come primarily from evil or self-centered motives (see 1 John 5:19). But God-centered love enables us to love others with a supernatural commitment not dependent on convenient circumstances.

A committed love cares when others do not. Committed love remembers when others forget, and forgives when others remember. True love braves the storms that tear other relationships apart. Love does not flee when contrary winds whip up. It stays, remains, and continues, even though tested to the limit.

As we mentioned yesterday, we cannot love others without God’s supernatural love. Notice the origin of this love:

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).

Quite clearly, God poured His love into the hearts of believers, enabling them to love like He does. Of course, we cannot love others with the deep abiding love that God has. But we can begin to love others in a godly manner simply because God pours His own love into our hearts.

True love requires commitment and, frankly, much effort. We don’t love because we feel like it. We love because we follow in the Master’s footsteps, who loved us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20).

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