The L word is thrown around a lot in modern society. Love, love, I’m talking about love! What is it, what does it entail and communicate?
In society people use love as a disposable item to be used on demand and thrown away. “I love that movie,” “I love that pizza,” “I love you.” An emotional, shortlived outburst, fleeting, and momentary. A plethora of poems, books, music and movies have been created regarding this lofty word. Due to its overuse the word and impact have lost much of its muster.
First, what is love? Hearts, smiles, jewelry, chocolate and Rose’s? Our society equates these externals as love or at least heavily associated with it. And these “gestures” and gifts can certainly express it in their giving and receiving. However, is that it? An occasional gift on select days of import, of words, touches and the like?
More so than the accepted societal ” Accoutrements-of-love” love is an emotion. We feel love, a welling of emotion resulting in rapid pulse, a lite “flushness of the skin,” increased breathing and a feeling of exhilaration. Wait Evan, yes, we’re all well aware of how love is perceived, shown and experienced, so what?
The what is a serious what in that in our society we have cauterized love. Love is not, I repeat NOT simply a giving of gifts, it is not a warm-and-fuzzy feeling. How do I know? I’m glad you asked! The word of God and it’s author communicate a different set of trademarks. In Scripture we find that “…God is love” (1 John 4:8).
So God, the creator, sustainer and ruler of the universe is the standard by which we discern this lost “ideal.” What can we tell by the character of God regarding love? As love is of God we discover that it, like He, it is expressed and acted upon according to certain trademarks. The Lord is creator and sustainer of His creation. He purposefully, beautifully and painstakingly crafted us and our surroundings (Genesis). He not only made all, but in His love cares for it. Food, water, the warmth of the sun, the cooling of night, and the joys experienced from the creations bounty are upheld, and provided by our Maker.
As such we can discern that love is creative, purposeful, and attentive. It cares for and sustains absolute goodness. It’s not simply a feeling, there are certainly emotional aspects to it, that I do not deny. But it is more, it is not fleeting, it is purposeful and ordered.
And of course we all know the great love verse of 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” Love is surely these things and more!
Beyond what is gatherede from natural revelation, we get the most powerful picture. Love is beautifully and painfully witnessed in Christ. Leaving His glorious dwelling to come to earth to redeem a people who mocked, beat and crucified Him as a “thank you.” In our Savior we can see that love is sacrificial, it is a willingness to endure discomfort, to forgive and care for no matter the cost. He hung on the cross for you, for me! He did this knowing full well that many, most would reject His love-offering and continue the ridicule Him as He experienced at the cross.
That my friends is the gold-standard! The mark is high, it is not a word to be thrown around like an empty soda cup. It is a pledge of suffering for someone other than ourselves. As believers “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Love is beautiful, love is powerful, love is caring and sacrificial regardless of merit. We are called to love, brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to love as we have been loved, and that’s a lot!
Let us not love in word and deed only, but in action and in truth. (1John 3:18). Let us love as Christ loved the Church, He gave His life for her. And can we do it, you may ask, how so? The standard is SO high! Yes it is, it’s supposed to be. On our own we are powerless, in Christ only can we love as we ought.
This world is dying and in need of true lovers of true love, truth, help and care. May we by Gods grace rise to His set standard! In a society that loves things and uses people, let’s revolt against the norm. Let’s start a revival and show this dark world what the power of Christ in us means…let’s take the L-word back from the world, let’s love!
Father God, thank you so so much for loving us! We are incredibly unworthy, but give you worship, love, honor, and praise. Please forgive us for our coldness, selfishness and disregard. We do not love You, nor our neighbors as we ought. Please Lord free us from the old Adam that we may love as you intend. Give us hearts that break for what breaks yours, rejoice for what brings You joy. Make us see need and be eager go help with much rejoicing. Loving Father please set us ablaze with the love of Christ for you, for our neighbor, for our enemies, for all You have created. Much love, praise and thanks, in Christ’s holy name. Amen
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God’s love was revealed among us: God sent His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we remain in Him, and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:7-14).
“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).
“Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him” (Matthew 20:34).