The Heart of Christianity Is Love

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This article was original published in January 2007 and has been updated for relevancy. We hope you will find this message a blessing in your walk with Christ.

The heart of Christianity is love. 1 John 4:8 When you are a follower of Christ, it is inevitable that sometime someone will ask you: “What if the Bible/God/etc. is not true?” Perhaps you have even experienced doubt about God’s existence or the authenticity of the Bible. After all, how can you trust in a God you have never seen, heard, or touched?

Whenever I am asked that question, it causes me to reflect upon my beliefs, its influence on who I am as a person and how I relate to the world around me. Time and time again, I find myself resolute. Even if the Bible or God or Christ were not true, my life would still be worth living in a Biblical way as a follower of the teachings of Christ. I have a contented, peace-filled life under Christ, and in this world filled with sorrow, despair, pain, jealousy, hatred, suffering, and death… happiness and peace of mind are very rare commodities. If the Bible and God is true, then my faith in the grace of God through the death of His Son in my place has allowed me to receive the gift of salvation and the promise of living with God in paradise for all eternity. Either way, I am a winner! No matter what the end result, I live each day with an optimistic, friendly, compassionate attitude and live a contented, peaceful life even through the most difficult times and trials.

How can I believe in a God I cannot see? By faith! Christ Himself said: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) According to Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Just because something cannot be seen by our eyes does not mean it cannot exist. There are many forms of light that are not visible to the human eye… x-ray, ultraviolet, infrared, etc. …but we know from various technology that they exist. We cannot see the wind, but we know it exists because we can see the effects of the wind. Likewise, we may not be able to see God (yet!), but if we open our eyes, we can see the effects of God all around us in nature. In fact, nature is sometimes referred to as God’s second book, because nature shares with us information about her Creator. (See Psalms 19:1-7; Isaiah 40:26; Hebrews 11:3; and Romans 2:14-15.)

Just because something cannot be seen by our eyes does not mean it cannot exist. Click To Tweet

Sometimes we might read or hear about someone else’s miraculous conversion to Christianity, a moment in their life where time itself almost seemed to stand still and a peace came flooding into them that transformed their life and they claim to never feel the sadness or pain (or whatever it was) again. Having been a believer all of my life, I have never experienced anything like this, and many other Christians I have spoken to have not either. So do not think that you are less of a Christian for not experiencing such a dramatic moment in your walk with Christ. Being a follower of Christ rarely changes your life and your outlook on life overnight. Yes, it can happen, but it is not a requirement to being a Christian. Being a follower of Christ is a life-long journey, a personal relationship with the Lord, that we have to put our time and energy into on a daily basis.

You need to take your spiritual journey one step at a time. Just remember, you can have all the head knowledge of the Scriptures, but without a love for the Lord, that knowledge is meaningless. The foundation of Christianity — the very core of who God is and why the Bible even exists — is love. Unconditional love. A love with no strings attached.

The only way I can think to explain this love is: when you truly love someone with all of your being, you want to spend as much time with them as possible. You listen and hang on their every word. You would do everything in your power to please them and do what they ask of you. You would even lay down your own life to save theirs. We see this example lived out in the unconditional love between a husband and wife or a parent and child, though even these fine examples do not adequately display how much more the Lord loves each of us individually.

I heard a story once of a father who took his sons on a boating trip through the Caribbean Sea. It was beautiful: clear blue skies and crystal clear water. One day while they were far at sea, the sons went swimming off the side of the boat. The father was looking out over the water and saw sharks heading towards his sons. He calmly told his sons to swim as hard and fast as they could to the boat. Unfortunately, from his vantage point, he could see that they would never make it to the boat… the sharks were too close! So he picked up a knife, sliced his wrists, and leaped into the water. The sharks, smelling the blood, left the boys and attacked the father. The father loved his sons so much that he would rather die than let them die, and because of his love for them, the boys were saved.

It is the same with our heavenly Father. He sees each of us being pursued by death. To save us, God willing came down to earth as Jesus Christ to die in our place. That is unconditional love, the precious core of who God is. One of the simplest yet most profound statements in the Bible is found in the last half of 1 John 4:8. Just four little words: “for God is love.”

Without this love, you can know of God but you cannot know God.

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About Jacquelyn

Jacquelyn Van Sant lives in Chandler, Arizona, with her husband Bradley and their one-year-old son. She works as a web application developer for a large American university and is an active member of the Tempe SDA Church in Tempe, Arizona. In her free time, she enjoys singing, writing, drawing, and hiking. Jacquelyn wrote songs for Christian recording artist Jessica (Fisher) Cyiza's debut album New Life (2011).