Skip to content

Home / Resources / What Is Love?

What Is Love?

Written by Mark Vroegop on

During the last week of Jesus’s life, he issued a “new command.”

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35).  

New Commandment?

This command was not “new” in the sense that it had never been said before. The Old Testament ethic required loving God and neighbor (see Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18).

The commandment was new in that it applied the example of Jesus to the way believers are to treat one another: “…just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).

Disciples are called to love fellow disciples like Jesus loved them. Simple enough, right?

But what does love look like?

It must be more than emotion. Love has to be applied in a variety of ways.

Love List

1 Corinthians 13 provides some clarification—and conviction. The apostle Paul lists fifteen different applications of love. Consider this list and an attempt to put some additional application to the individual words.

  • Patient – a willingness to keep going with hard people
  • Kind – a commitment to respond with more grace than deserved
  • Not envious – doesn’t wish for others to lose
  • Not boasting – not verbally celebrating your success
  • Not arrogant – not thinking that you are better or see everything clearly
  • Not rude – not treating people in a way that punishes
  • Not insisting on its own way – not being unreasonable and inflexible
  • Not irritable – not having a quick fuse or easily offended
  • Not resentful – not holding an internal grudge or keeping a list of wrongs
  • Not rejoicing at wrongdoing – not delighting in the fall of others
  • Rejoices in truth – celebrates what is right and true
  • Bears all things – willing to personally absorb unfairness and mistreatment
  • Believes all things – first step is one of grace, not suspicion
  • Hopes all things – confident in God’s ability to bring change
  • Endures all things – takes the long view; doesn’t quit

I have this list posted over the sink in my bathroom. It’s become a morning discipline to prayerfully review it. The more I read it, the more I realize something: I know love is important, but living in love requires daily intentionality.

And it’s also really important.

After all, Jesus said that love for one another is how the world will know that we are the disciples of Jesus.

This article originally appeared on

Mark Vroegop

Mark was called as the Lead Pastor of College Park in 2008. In this integral role, he is the primary teaching pastor for the North Indy congregation, and he works alongside the pastors and elders to implement our mission of igniting a passion to follow Jesus. He is a graduate of Cedarville University and Grand Rapids Theological Seminary (M. Div.). Mark approaches ministry with a unique blend of passion for Jesus, a love for the Word, and a desire to see lives changed. He is a conference speaker, Council Member of The Gospel Coalition, contributor to 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me, and author of Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament and Weep With Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation. Prior to serving at College Park, Mark served at a church in western Michigan for 13 years. He married his wife, Sarah, in 1993, and they have four children, as well as a daughter in heaven due to an unexpected still-birth in 2004.
Blog: | Facebook: Mark Vroegop | Twitter: @MarkVroegop

Share Page

Contact Form

Take a step in your faith journey by connecting with one another this summer! Check out ways to engage on a Sunday, around a table, and in a group.