Love is the law of Christ. It is the essence of Christianity. The Bible says that God is love. Love is not just something that He has, or even something that He does well, but it is who God is.
Mankind was created in the image of God. Therefore, we are created to be love. But how do we walk in love?
To walk in love we simply need to learn how to walk in the Spirit, because the first fruit of walking in the Spirit is love. The apostle John put it another way he said, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8). The number one way we walk in love is to know God.
What Does it Mean to “Walk in Love”?
The Bible defines love in 1 Corinthians 13.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
To walk in love is simply to carry out these attributes. To have these attributes working in your life to the people around you is walking in love.
If you notice in the passage above “does not seek its own” is bolded. I did that because if you read those verses carefully you’ll find that everything Paul lists can really be found in one statement: Love does not seek its own.
You want to be patient? Don’t view the time in a day as your time, but view every moment as an opportunity to know God and reach people with the Gospel. You want to be kind? Learn to care about others more than you care about yourself. Love does parade itself, which means that it is not proud. You have pride in your life? Realize it’s because of selfishness. View others as greater and more important than yourself (Phillipians 2:3-4).
You see, every problem that we have that hinders us from loving others is rooted in the fact that we are selfish.
Jesus walked in love perfectly. And having a selfless attitude is the exact mindset that He had while He walked on the earth.
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Phillipians 2:5-8)
To live in love is simply to live with the mindset that life is not about you. It’s recognizing that you are here for one purpose: to bear God’s image to a sick and dying world.
How to Walk in Love
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:16,22-23)
Like I said before the best way to walk in love is to walk in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, therefore, He has the same nature as the Father. If the Bible says “God is love” (1 John 4:8) that means the Holy Spirit is love as well. So, if we walk in the Spirit we will be walking in the nature of God.
Jesus said something similar to the apostle Paul in Matthew 22:37-40.
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus is saying here that we are to love God with everything we are and then we will carry out the second commandment, which is loving our neighbor as ourselves.
This is exactly what Paul is saying in Galatians chapter 5. He says walk in the Spirit, then you’ll carry out love. Also, notice both of them mentioned that this will fulfill the law. Paul said, “against such there is no law.” Jesus said, “on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
It’s also important for me to mention that to walk in the Spirit is to love the Lord God “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5-6)
Notice that those who walk in the Spirit set their mind on the things of the Spirit. This is essentially what Jesus was saying.
The Lord and the apostle Paul were not the only ones who used this kind of language. The apostle Peter and John also said similar things just in a different way. For example, in 2 Peter 1:2-3 the apostle Peter said,
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him.”
“All things that pertain to life and godliness” is accessed through the knowledge of Him. Love is a subject that is in the categories of life and godliness. If we want to increase in love, we should increase in knowing God. John the apostle also said something similar.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.“(1 John 4:7-8)
If we don’t love that reveals we don’t know God, so what happens if we get to know God? We’ll grow in love.
The Lord Jesus and all the apostles said the same thing: to walk in love is to walk in God, for God is love. If you want to see more of a detailed and practical article about how to do this see How to Walk in the Spirit.