There must be higher love

Remember the 1986 hit song “Higher Love”? English rocker Steve Winwood won two Grammy awards singing:

    Think about it, there must be higher love
    Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
    Without it, life is a wasted time
    Look inside your heart, I’ll look inside mine

Believers in God may think they are experiencing that higher love. After all, the apostle wrote:

    God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16b).

You can’t get any higher than God! But God, the Son, teaches there is a high, higher and highest love! First, Jesus taught:

High love

    “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).

That commandment went all the way back to the time of Moses and was the accepted requirement of the Jewish people. It’s the basis of Judeo/Christian belief.

But Jesus raises the bar and calls for a . . .

Higher love

    “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies!” (Matthew 5:43-44).

What?! Yeah, I should probably love the person who is like me and lives next door to me. But love those with whom I disagree? Those I consider inferior to me? Those with whom I share mutual suspicion or hatred? That is a higher love!

Jesus isn’t done! Not only does he say I should love my neighbor—and my enemy—as I love myself but commands the . . .

Highest love

    “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you” (John 15:12).

Not as I love myself because, honestly, I’m often critical, impatient and frustrated with myself. No, I’m to love as Jesus loves!

    This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

    Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us (1 John 4:10-12).

It’s not simply doing onto others as I would have them do onto me—but doing onto others as Jesus would do onto others! That would be humanly impossible if not for God, the Spirit, giving us that power.

    For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love (Romans 5:5b).

So, back to our song:

    Look inside your heart, I’ll look inside mine

What do I see? What do you see? High love? Higher love? Or highest love?

It all starts with a relationship with God who loves us with the highest love. Jesus said:

    “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Copyright © 2018 James N. Watkins

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