“Be you therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling fragrance”-Ephesians 5:1-2
From the above scripture, the Lord instructs us to walk in love as Christ also has loved us. Hence, when we talk of love here, we are talking about God’s love (Agape)…
This divine order of love can only be experienced and expressed in our lives by the help of the Holy Ghost in us. This kind of love is different from other kinds of natural affection mankind are used to.
It is different from the love between spouses. It is different from the love between brothers and sisters. It is also far different from the love between best of friends. Apart from the God’s kind of love we are considering here, every other kind of affection is at best self-centered…
God’s love can be best understood from what the word of God says in Romans 5:5-8;
“And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shared abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die. Yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.
The above scripture reveals God’s love to us in very clear terms. It clearly contrasts the love of God with the self-centered, natural human love we have on earth. The scripture tells us that in due time Christ died for the ungodly, not the godly.
It went further to say that hardly can someone even die for a just man—no matter how much affection we claim for the person along natural lines. But on the other hand, concerning God’s love; God demonstrated his perfect and impeccable love towards us…
In that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Christ died for us even while we were still living in offence to him and his father. You definitely won’t find this kind of love in any human relationship. Along natural lines people love only those who please them and hate those who offend them.
But the Lord commands that we love our neighbors in exactly the same manner he has loved us. The word of God from our opening scripture says we should walk in love as Christ also loved us. In other words, the Lord demands we walk exactly in his order or kind of love. Hence, in this article we want to scripturally see what constitutes walking in love.
How to Walk In Love
We have seen from our opening text that the Lord commands that we walk in love. But the question is what constitutes walking in love according to God’s standard? And how do we actually walk in love?
The list below constitutes what is meant to be walking in love; and how to walk in love scripturally:
- Forgiveness and Forbearance: “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you”—Colossians 3:13.
The greatest love God showed and still shows to mankind is forgiveness and forbearance of sin. As a matter of fact, forgiveness of sins is a major tenet of God’s new covenant (Hebrews 8:12). Hence, the Lord seriously demands that we forbear and forgive one another even as he forgave (and still) forgives us in love.
As a matter of fact, the Lord says if we do not forgive others their trespasses against us, he won’t also forgive us our trespasses against him ( Matthew 6:14-15). Thus, to be walking in forgiveness and forbearance with people, is a major way to walk in love.
2 Obedience to God’s Commandments: “He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me. And he that loves me shall be loved of my father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him”- John 14:21.
From the above scripture, the Lord clearly defines love for him to mean having his commandments or word and doing or practicing them. The love of God is not just hearing and speaking the word of God; but rather, it is hearing and doing. The Lord says anyone who does not keep or practice his sayings does not love him (John14:24).
So to be practicing the word of God in our daily lives is to be walking in love as the Lord commands.
3 Sacrifice: Our opening text tells us to walk in love as Christ also has loved us and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God. Hence, God’s love is a sacrificial love. Christ loved us so much, he had to sacrifice himself for us.
The Lord also tells us, greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends (John15:13). And the most remarkable thing about Christ’s sacrificial love is that, he did not just sacrifice his life for only his friends and godly…
But much more, for the ungodly and his offenders. Thus, to walk in love as Christ did, we also have to follow this sacrificial example. To walk in Christ’s order of love, we must sacrifice for God and our neighbors. We must bear the burden of God’s work, especially soul winning.
We must also bear our fellow believers burden. Then to be perfect in love, we must also bear the burden of the ungodly as well.
We must sacrificially pray for the ungodly, including those that offend and despise us. We must cunningly use our words and attitude to draw them from their damnation. Hence, sacrificial lifestyle is a major way to walk in divine order of love.
4 Zealousness: Christ’s love, that the Lord instructs us to walk in, is a zealous love. In John 2, we see the Lord’s love for the father, expressed in his indignation towards those that bought and sold in the temple of God…
In verse seventeen of that book of John chapter 2, the word of God says; “And his disciples remembered that it was written, the zeal of your house has consumed me”. Just as the Lord’s love is a zealous one, the same way we are also to be zealous or heated up in our love for God. To walk in divine love, is to be zealous for God and the things of God.
The Lord does not want a lukewarm attitude towards him and his work. Instead, he requires a fervid or passionate love from us. We are to be consumed by the zeal of his house and everything concerning him. We are to be zealous in godliness. We are to be zealous in soul winning. We are to be zealous in our exercise of faith.
Passivity is not acceptable in God’s order of love. Hence, to the lukewarm, the lord says;
“Be zealous therefore, and repent”—Revelations 3:19.
5 Chastisement: In Revelation 3:19 the Lord says; “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten…”
God’s love is a rebuking and chastening love. And to walk in his love, we must also rebuke and chasten people in love. If someone is in error or offence towards you or others or God, it is your responsibility to rebuke him. And as the scriptures says, as you rebuke the person and he repents you should forgive him (Luke 17:3).
But if you rebuke someone and he is recalcitrant, if you can find a subtle way to discipline the person in love, do so. Then if the person remains unrepentant in spite of your rebukes and disciplinary measures, still forgive the person for your own good.
So the above list is the major ways to walk in divine love as the Lord commands us.