Exactly what is love? Is it merely a sentimental, emotional disposition towards God? Or does love involve more than that? When the Lord suggested that the “great” commandment is loving God with all of one’s heart, soul, and mind (see Matthew 22:38-40), what did that entail? John sheds some light on that when he writes: “And this is love, that we should walk after his commandments.” There are three important facts here set forth.
First, love is active. It is not mere emotionalism; it is revealed in obedience. Jesus said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Circle “love,” and in your margin write: Love obeys. Second, the verb “walk” translates the Greek peripateo, which denotes a sphere of existence. It takes a present tense form, hence, suggests a sustained mode of activity. Underline the word and note: Keep on walking. Third, observe that “love” and “commandments” are not mutually exclusive. Some contend that the New Testament is a series of “love letters,” and so is not to be viewed as “law.” John recognized no such distinction. Love recognizes and honors law (commands). Circle “commandments.” Connect it back to “love,” and observe: Love and commands not in conflict.