I will not tell you that I am the most knowledgeable person on the topic of love. I am simply connected to the One who is. God is love. I could end there, no more to say, except God is love. However, if we dig a little deeper we find that we can all have a different idea of what love is.
I know there are things that I love. I love flowers. I am mesmerized by them; the colors, shapes, the way they respond to light (opening and closing), the way they smell. They put a smile on my face. I sketch them, I paint them, I often stop to inhale their fragrant aroma. I imagine that Heaven smells like a variety of floral arrangements. I love many things, meaning I am captivated by them, but is that truly love? Or is that only admiration, a tickle in the emotions that leads to moments of happiness.
Many times I think that is where we stop, at admiration or the romance we see in the world. Love is what makes us happy and leaves our hearts skipping. What if love is more than what makes us feel delightful? What if love involves pain and sacrifice? What if love requires selflessness and committment? What if love doesn’t always feel good? What if love involves being uncomfortable? Of what love do I speak? God’s love. God sent His only Son into the world to save it, because of love. His Son Jesus lived a selfless life that led to a sacrificial death for all of mankind. Before the cross, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked the Father if there was another way (if God would take His cup of suffering). In the end He said “Father not my will, but Your will be done.” He surrendered all His rights for you and for me. He was innocent, yet suffered for us. Why? Out of love. He knew without a perfect sacrifice we would be separated from Him for eternity. Love came down for you and me. Love can be seen on a rugged cross.
I enjoy that love was not just in the words Jesus spoke, but in His actions. Woven through the pages of scriptures He points us to love. Love is truth, love is compassion, love is justice, love is not selective, love is a passionate pursuer of the human heart. Love serves, love corrects, love disciplines, love encourages, love heals. So what does that mean for me and you. Our love should mirror His love. 1 Corinthians 13 gives us some important information on the subject of love.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
I recognize when I forgive freely, I am walking in love. I see that when I am patient, I am walking in love. I notice that when I look for people the world doesn’t see or deem important, I am walking in love. I see the love of God on every mission trip-He rocks my view of love every time I go. I see love each time a starving person is fed or a person without clean water is given a source of clean water to drink. I am conscious that good works/deeds are not what make us acceptable in the eyes of God (meaning He loves us despite what we do). We are saved by faith and grace alone. However, He is love and the more I get to know Him, the more I love what He loves. God loves people-every person. Everyday His eyes are searching the earth to reveal Who He is to the world. A God who is concerned with the condition of the human heart and soul. His heart is bleeding for the lost, the forgotten, the least, and those the world throws away.
So 1 Corinthians challenges my heart to view love the way God does. When I say “I love you,” what it really means is “I will sacrifice for you. I will forgive you. I will be patient with you. I will not be jealous or envious of you. I will not boast or brag. I will lay my rights aside. I will protect you, persevere with you, trust you, and keep no record of your wrongs. I will hope; I will see the best in you and encourage you to be the best you can be. I will care for you and about you. I will love you from my spirit and not my emotions. I will do what is right by you, even when you don’t do right by me. I will do right by you, even when I don’t feel like it or want to. I will listen. I will cherish you. I will seek to bless you. I will seek to honor you. I will point you to the truth and accept the truth. I will desire justice. I will have compassion. I will be kind. I will be faithful. I will feed you if you are hungry, clothe you if you are naked. I will serve.”
To love a person is a committment. It is a promise. It is more than the emotions that lead to our highs and lows. People are not perfect, so loving them can prove challenging. Often we will not feel like walking in love. Committing to loving an imperfect person can be the most challenging commitment. God has plenty of experience with loving imperfect beings. God commits His heart to ours when we invite Him in. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. His promises He will always keep. We can walk away, but He does not surrender His position as the One of love. Even when we don’t see Him, He is there saying, “I love you. If no one else makes you feel loved, know I love you.” He doesn’t stop loving. He doesn’t base His love on what we do, or don’t do, or who we are. Love is Who He is. That doesn’t mean He condones our behavior or says wrong things are right. It does not mean He doesn’t offer correction, it does mean that we have someone who will love us past our sin. We have an advocate that loves us with an everlasting love. May He wow you with His love this week. You mean the so much to Him! So get filled with His love, then give it away.