“Pursue” is a very resolute word. This Greek verb has an intensity to it. It means to “seek after eagerly,” like a runner in a race seeking eagerly to win a prize.
The NIV’s translation, “Follow the way of love” somehow does not capture Paul’s intensity. The RSV’s translation of this phrase is sharper: “Make love your aim”. It has a sense of single-minded focus to it. This is an aggressive verb. In fact, it can mean to “pursue with hostile intent”. That’s why in the New Testament, it is frequently used to mean persecuting or harassing someone.
That actually sounds like Paul, the former persecutor who became the persecuted. What he is saying to us is that we should pursue love with no less fervency and determination that he once pursued Christians to Damascus – only our aim is not to stop love, but to unleash it and be captured by it. The one and only “weapon” followers of Jesus Christ are equipped with in order to overcome the world is love.
Let this be the year that we pursue love. Let this be the year that we stop talking about love, that we do less regretful moaning about how little we love, how much we need to grow in love and actually be determined to love more the way Jesus loved. (John 15:12)
Let this be the year we actually put in place some strategies to help us love.
It’s something that we must each do with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, though some input and counsel from those who know us best are helpful.
Here are some of the Bible’s great love texts to soak in during the year that can help loving strategies emerge:
1. Read 1 Corinthians 13: soak in or memorise it and let each “love is . . .” statement in verses 4 to 7 search your heart. With whom can we show greater patience, kindness, and forgiveness and more?
2. Read Hebrews 13:1–7, take each verse and prayerfully meditate on what you might put in place to grow in each area of loving obedience.
We can make this a year where we pursue love with more intentionality than we ever have before. As we meditate, letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly, the Holy Spirit will guide us in creating the strategies we should use.
Now, let’s also be clear: making love our aim this year will demand more courage and faith than any other resolution we can make. Nothing exposes the depth of our sin like really seeking to love God with our entire being and loving our neighbors as ourselves. We can only love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19) and sent his Son to redeem us from sins so that we can become righteous with God in Him.
Because of His accomplished work on the Cross, we are forgiven of our constant failure to love as we ought to and are given grace to grow in the grace of love. And because of Jesus, someday we will love perfectly just as we have been loved.
So, let’s make our resolution to pursue love this year more than we ever have, knowing that we have been loved with an everlasting love (Psalm 103:17).