Today I want us to contemplate another acrostic for the word love. However, this one isn't about what God has done for us; it's about what we need to do for God in response to His awesome love.
Simply stated, we need to L-O-V-E--that is, Live for God Obediently, Victoriously, and Eternally.
When a person lives for God, he no longer lives for himself. In fact, he denies himself (Matt. 16:24) and glorifies God in his body and spirit, which belong to God anyway (I Cor. 6:20)! If you have obeyed the gospel, then you have been crucified with Christ, and the life which you now live is not to be for yourself but for the Lord (Gal. 2:20). Friends, are you living for God?
II Corinthians 5:14,15 puts it so well - "For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again." Jesus' love should motivate us to live for Him! If it doesn't motivate us to live for Him, either we don't really comprehend His love or it just doesn't mean much to us.
But, how exactly are we to live for God? Here's where the rest of the acrostic comes in. First, you should live for God obediently. John teaches in I John 2:5 that "whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him." To obey God is to grow and mature in His love. Also, I John 5:3 states - "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome." To obey God is to love Him, and to obey Him should not be a burden, if we really love Him. If you're living for Him, then obeying Him is natural. But, if you're still trying to live for yourself, then sometimes you might feel burdened trying to obey the Lord too. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:24 - "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Sometimes children of God try to serve two masters--themselves and God. It just won't work! To love God and to live for Him is to obey Him; to do anything else is to live for yourself.
Second, we should also live for God victoriously. We should live without fear. I don't mean that we should live recklessly or foolishly, but that we shouldn't live in fear of punishment from God. Isn't that what I John 4:18 teaches? "There is no fear [or terror] in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." We should strive to live victoriously before God. This shows that our love for Him is mature. We can live our Christian lives as victors because that's what we are in Christ. We can know that we are saved (I John 5:13)! And, when one knows that he has eternal life waiting for him, how else can he live but victoriously? Put a smile on your face and rejoice, because if you've obeyed the gospel and are living for God obediently, then you have been saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). A mature love of God has nothing to fear.
And finally, in addition to living for God obediently and victoriously, we should also live for God eternally. If you get the first parts right, then this will come in due time. If you live faithfully to God unto death as a Christian (Rev. 2:10) and if you endure to the end (Matt. 10:22), then you will receive a crown of life! You will be victorious over the second death (Rev. 20:6) and you will go home to be with God forever. Isn't that a wonderful thought?
I Corinthians 13:13 teaches that faith, hope, and love are three marvelous virtues. It also teaches that love is the greatest of the three. Why is that? I believe that love is the greatest because love is forever. Once we get to heaven there is no longer a need for faith or hope as we know them today. But, there will always be a place for love. In heaven, we will serve God eternally. We will love Him and He will continue to love us as He always has. Christian friends, are you homesick? You need to be! Heaven is to be our home, not this temporal realm. Live for God today and always!