It is often said that love conquers all, that love is the greatest force in the universe. It is the force that gives healing and life, binds souls together, and whispers to us that all will be well. We can see throughout the Bible that love conquers fear, evil, and sins.
But the power of love comes from its source. It is not a thing in and of itself. This is the mistake the world often makes. When love becomes the force we honor or worship, its power vaporizes. But if we let the radiance of love beckon us back to its source, we find the true reason as to why love conquers all. We find there is a Lover behind love, and that Lover is committed to conquering all that is not love and all that is not lovely.
That Lover is God Himself, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, whose life together is always one of mutual love. Love conquers all because God is love and God has already won.
‘Love Conquers All’ Scriptures and Biblical Meaning
What do we mean when we say that love conquers all? How are we to understand this in terms of how the Bible pictures love? The very idea of conquering implies a battle being fought with victors and losers. And this is certainly how the Bible pictures reality. There is a massive war being fought between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world.
The history of the human race and of each individual is marked by the struggle between these two sides. On one side, we have the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. On the other, we have the Unholy Trinity, the world with its structures opposed to God, the sin that corrupts us, called the flesh, and Satan himself. This Unholy Trinity seeks to dominate by hatred, deception, manipulation, and power struggles.
But God doesn’t fight with any of those weapons. The weapon He has chosen is love.
The Father gave His only Son and then the gift of His Holy Spirit, all out of sacrificial love. This tactic may appear foolish and weak in the face of such a titanic war. But we underestimate the power of love to conquer. We underestimate God and His wisdom.
What the Bible Says about Love Being a Conqueror
Although the actual phrase “love conquers all” is not in the Bible, the truth of it is behind so many verses. Here are a few examples:
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. – Romans 8:37
Paul has just mentioned all the hardships a believer may face. Yet none of these in the end keep us from experiencing God’s love. In fact, through His conquering love for us, we become super-conquerors over those hardships.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:7
Paul is delivering a tribute to the supremacy of love when he makes this amazing statement. Love bears and endures whatever wrongs or irritations come. It also believes and hopes the best for others, seeing with the eyes of faith all that they could be. In this sense, love truly conquers.
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
Jesus is teaching His disciples for the last time before His death. The last words of that teaching are: “I have overcome the world.” And how does He overcome it? By submitting Himself to the horror of the cross. He does all this because He loves us.
His love conquers the world.
But let’s get a little more practical. How exactly does love conquer all? Here are three ways:
Way #1: Love Dismantles Sin’s Power
We all have those habits of behavior and thinking that seem resistant to change. We know we should stop doing them, but their power over us feels overwhelming. Further attempts yield only more frustration or despair. You can call it an addiction, a bad habit, a character defect, or a thorn in the flesh (to use Paul’s term). Whatever you call it, the result is the same. We feel stuck. We are in bondage.
Enter God’s love. To open our hearts and receive His love precisely at the place we feel stuck is to open the door out of this prison.
Most sin patterns are simply disordered loves. We are looking for love in the wrong place or have shut the door to it altogether. But when we begin to experience His personal embrace for us as His son or daughter, a new power is released inside us. It is the power of our new self in Christ. We are given power to say ‘no’ to the sin that once overwhelmed us.
Here’s a personal story along these lines. I struggled for years with an unhealthy addiction to exercise and food. I would workout in extreme ways and then eat huge meals. My whole day became centered around getting the workout in and the food to follow. As I began to pray about this, the Lord revealed to me that I was trying to receive affirmation as a man through physical prowess. The food was a way to fill the void left by that same lack of affirmation. As I began to let Jesus affirm me as both a man and as His brother, the bondage to food and exercise began to release. His love conquered what I could not change.
Way #2: Love Heals Enmity
Once you have tasted God’s love, there is a desire to offer that love to others. It starts with loved ones and friends, but it is to move out into more difficult relationships, even to those we consider enemies. How does this happen? It starts by choosing to forgive those who have wounded us. This is the way of Christ. But it is also the way our hearts become freed from bitterness. Then we make that love tangible by listening. In the listening, enmity is healed.
For years I was angry with my father for his disengagement in my life, an abandonment that left a wake of devastation in me. Through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I finally chose to forgive him, a process that I had to repeat a number of times.
But as I forgave him, I also desired to know him and began to ask him questions about his life. As I listened, I heard stories from his past that helped me understand him and even empathize with him. Love healed the enmity I had with my father. In the end, love conquered.
Way #3: Love Believes the Best for Others
Here is a final way love conquers all. Our default mode as humans is to find fault with others so that we can feel better about ourselves. We all carry on this critical tendency to one degree or another. In its most virulent form, it becomes a toxic mistrust or hatred. This is the genesis of all prejudices, where the things that make someone unique become the subject of criticism.
But the way of love is so different. Instead of looking for the worst in others and finding fault, love believes the best in others and seeks to build them up. This does not mean that we overlook their faults. What it does mean is that our focus is not there. It is instead on their gifts and strengths and on all the good that God can accomplish in their lives.
This is perhaps what Paul meant when he said that love believes all things and hopes all things. In the end, love can conquer our critical spirit.