Just as the Apostle James said, “faith without works is dead,” the same can be said of love. If we have love dwelling in our hearts, then love will manifest itself outwardly in our daily living.
The Apostle Paul beautifully describes the behavior of love in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. He says, “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 (it makes allowance for the hurts and insults from others), believes all things (without skepticism), hopes all things (desires the best outcome for humanity), endures all things (even when strongly opposed). Love never ends.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
It is these principles, incorporated in our daily lives, that help to develop Christian character.
What does it mean to love God? The best way we can demonstrate our love for God is to keep His commandments. Jesus said “If a man loves me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come into him, and make our abode with him. He that does not love me will not keep my words: and the words which you hear are not mine, but from the Father who sent me,” John 14:23-24.
Jesus demonstrated his love for the Father through obedience and by daily pouring out his life even unto death (Isaiah 53:12). For us to manifest our love for God we must also be willing to present ourselves a “living sacrifice” and walk in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior. (See Romans 12:1-2.)
How do we love our neighbor? The second of the Greatest commandments is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus taught about how to love mankind through the following examples:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evildoer. On the contrary, whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go two with him. Give to the person who asks you for something, and do not turn away the person who wants to borrow something from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘you must love you neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:38-44 (ISV). Perhaps the greatest lesson of loving our neighbor is given in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).