...having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have toward all the holy ones...
Paul has not only heard of the faith of the Colossians but also of their love. This is a special kind of love, the love called agapē in Greek.
Agapē is first and foremost the word for the love of God within the Trinity and then the love of God that radiates out toward us, His creatures and His children. Within the Trinity, the Father and the Son love each other with an intense, infinite, self-giving love that is so strong and vibrant that it manifests as another Person, the Holy Spirit. The Father gives Himself completely to the Son; the Son gives Himself completely to the Father; the Holy Spirit flows out as that self-giving love in Person.
We Christians seek to enter into God's agapē. We open our hearts and minds to it and allow it to pour into us, and not only into us but through us to others. When we do this, we share in and imitate divine love. We show agapē back to God by putting Him first, by submitting to His will, by trusting Him, and by obeying His commands. We humbly recognize our failures, repent of them, and ask for forgiveness, placing our hope in the One Who gives us His love.
But we don't stop there; the agapē we receive from God must pour out to others. This kind of love isn't about emotion, even though we may feel strong affection for our loved ones. Rather, it's about will. When we practice agapē, we will the absolute best for another person and then do everything possible to help that person achieve that goal. In doing so, we give of ourselves, putting the other person's needs ahead of our own desires.
Agapē doesn't always look like the “love” valued by our modern culture, a “love” that is mostly about emotion and that comes and goes on a whim, a “love” that is supposed to completely accept everything about a loved one. Instead, when we practice agapē, we sometimes have to tell a loved one that his/her actions are sinful and harmful and that he/she has taken the wrong road. This may seem harsh or uncaring to some people, but it is, in fact, motivated by the desire to help the loved one achieve his/her absolute best. When we see that is not happening, we must love the person enough to say so, even at the risk of an angry response. This kind of love, real agapē, the love of God, accepts nothing less.
This is the kind of love, then, that Paul sees and commends in the Colossians. May God see and commend the agapē, His own divine love, alive and working in us.