Genuine Love Defined
Genuine love is a special affection given to us by God. It is an affection that cannot be diminished and can never die. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the English Language defines love as an “ardent friendship, or a strong attachment springing from good will and esteem, and the pleasure derived from the company, civilities and kindness of others.” Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines love as “the high esteem which God has for His human children and the high regard which they, in turn, should have for Him and other people.”
However, 1 Corinthians 13 is the basis for genuine Biblical love. This genuine love is patient, kind, humble, forbearing, respectful, and does not seek to hurt or have envious feelings toward another person. Thus, genuine love only comes from us as we allow God’s Spirit to influence and work in our lives to bring out the character of Christ in us so we can display this character to others.
Therefore, love is the affection that is given by God to be shown to another individual through the character of Christ as it resides in the person showing love. It is not motivated by reward, but only by the humble and willful desire to express kindness to a person. It is not hypersensitive to hurt, but is willing to endure pain and suffering to be thoroughly expressed. Ultimately, 1 John 4:8 and 16 place the concept of love in complete perspective: “God is love.”