This article is taken from my book, Real Imitation.
There is probably not a single greater attribute of God that has motivated more change in more people’s lives than the love of God. Love is not only one of God’s supreme attributes; it is also a command for every Christian. The scripture is replete with commands and admonitions to:
“Love the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 6:5)
“Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18)
“Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44)
“Love the brothers” (John 13:35, I John 3:14)
To love the church is implied in Ephesians 5:25. Love is given as the first fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, signifying its primary importance among Christian character traits. Jesus remarked that people would understand us to be his disciples if we “have love for one another” (John 13:35).
Yet for all of these admonitions of love, including Jesus' command for us to love one another as he loved us (John 13:34), there are times when love is inappropriate, even wrong. Paul's words in I Corinthians 13 describe the attributes of love from both a positive and negative view. From a positive view: “Love is patient and kind...[love] rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all thing” (I Corinthians 13:4, 6, 7).
But, notice also Paul's negative admonitions about love: “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 wrongdoings” (I Corinthians 13:5-6). In fact, Paul says more about what love is not than he does about what love is.
In this lesson we will learn about God’s character attribute of love, how he expresses it, and how we can become people who love unconditionally, as God loves.