Love is a word very hard to define. Although it’s a common word, it’s really complex. We use it – or misuse it – a lot, but to put an accurate, complete definition to it would take a lot of thought, study and prayer. I’m not going to attempt to define it. Instead, I’ll list, and elaborate on, four truths about love.
Truth #1: Love is a lot more about choices than about feelings.
My senior year of college I was invited to a girls dorm lobby to watch a video on love. To this day, I’m so glad I went, because that video changed my whole understanding of what love is. In the video, Josh McDowell explained that love is not a mere feeling; it’s actually something we choose. I’d never thought much about love, so I just defaulted to what the world at large – through song lyrics , love-story tv and movies, and pop culture in general – understood and expressed about love. Love, as the world, including me, understood it, was something that just happened to you. It kind of descended upon you like a fog, and then it lifted, and you had no real say in when or if it fell or lifted. If you were lucky enough to be in it, you felt great, and its lift left you empty, longing for another foggy day. But Josh McDowell said we decide when, whom, and how we love, because love isn’t a feeling anyway. It’s a choice. Feelings may or may not be there when we choose to love someone, and real love has more to do with how we treat someone than how we feel about them. I remember leaving that dorm that night feeling enlightened, like a fog of new understanding had engulfed me. Of all the things I learned in my college experience, this was at the top of the most helpful list.
Truth #2: Love originates with God.
The reason we can love at all is because God loves us. Love is something that, like life, is part of who God is. It exists in Him, and can exist in us because of Him. 1 John 4:8 says Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love. (NLT) This verse implies that if we know God (have a relationship with Him in Christ), we’ll love. Whom will we love? We’ll love both God and people. We’ll love because God modeled love for us. As it says in 1 John 4:19 We love because He first loved us. (NIV) We’ll also love because God produces love in us. Because of our faith in Jesus, God’s Spirit dwells within us, and the Holy Spirit produces fruit in us. Galations 5:22 says The fruit of the Spirit is love… (NKJV)
Truth #3: You can’t love God and not love people.
1 John 4:20-21 says If someone says “I love God” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (NKJV). ‘Nuff said
Truth #4: You can love people (well, sort of) and not love God.
Jesus is recorded in Luke 6 calling His disciples to love our enemies. In verse 32 He says But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. (NKJV) Even though it isn’t the love that comes from God, there is a love possessed by people who haven’t accepted Christ. It isn’t the love I acknowledged in the first three truths above. It’s a reciprocal love only. Remember, God’s love loves first (not just in response), and that’s the love His followers are called to, have received,and should have. I’ve noticed often that people who don’t know God recognize loving people, but don’t see the value of loving our Creator, Savior and Provider. Jesus was asked what the most important law was. He gave two. He said most important is to love God; He said to love others is second. As important as it is to love people, it’s even more important to love God. Do we keep that order? Let’s.
So that’s not everything there is to love. But these four statements are true. Whatayasay we try to live with them in mind?