What is love?
by Erin Lamb
February 15, 2011
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.
So I will tell you that love fascinates me. There is something in the Universe that is bigger, grander and more powerful than anything. It is love. He is love. People search for it, give their lives away for it and it is the one thing that has the capability to change us from the inside out. We can’t know love in and of ourselves. It takes two! This love inside our hearts has to originate from somewhere and it originates from Someone. God is love. People may say there are people who don’t believe in God who love well. Well, someone once explained it to me this way-God is like the sun. He shines bright on all of creation. So even those not connected to Him can benefit from the fact that He is here, He is shining, and this world isn’t completely void of His presence. His love is all around us even when we fail to see evidence of His love.
For humans, love is a verb. Love leads us to give, to share and to show compassion. It comes from us to others. It dwells in the realm of our emotions. We feel love and it leads us to act. If we don’t feel love, then we are not persuaded to act. For God it is Who He is. He can’t be anything but love. So many times I believe we don’t understand God. How can a holy God care so much for us when He sees all our failings. He sees us as we are and smiles with love in His eyes. He may not love what we do, but He always loves us.
So here are some things I have learned about love from God.
1. Love is Who He is. God is love. I think our vision is blurred to think of love as simply someone catering to us, making us feel good, or giving us what we want. God’s love is so much deeper than that. He loves us so much. He will withhold things from us that are detrimental to us. He will discipline us when we are wrong. He will pursue goodness in our hearts. He will warn us when we stray to come home to Him. He knows that life outside His perfect will, will lead to death. He loves us enough to let us choose and take us back when we have chosen the wrong path. He loves us enough to pursue us when we have shut Him out. He has compassion on all that He has made. If it matters to us, it matters to Him. Love motivates all that He does.
2. Love requires sacrifice. Love costs us something. If it doesn’t cost us something, then it means nothing. The fact that God sent His only Son for the world is the greatest offering of love. The greatest gift. It cost God the One most precious to Him. He sacrificed for the unworthy. He sacrificed for the hateful, the murderer, the slanderer, the immoral, the prideful, the angry, the broken, and those who abused Him. He gave it all, in the name of love.
3. God takes love seriously. It is His nature. It is Who He is. So when we love like Him, oh how His heart smiles. There is no act of love that God doesn’t see and smile. People may not appreciate it, treasure it, or acknowledge the love given them. However, God sees. God knows and heaven applauds every selfless act of love.
4. Love and pride can’t live together for long. They are enemies. Pride says “what about me.” Love says “what’s best for the other person.” There will be a tug of war between love and pride. Pride is selfish, self focused, and has no room for love. Pride lacks compassion. Love looks outside the person and seeks to give. Love overtakes pride and makes room for God. His love is so big that once allowed in and given full control it changes priorities. His love takes a person to a place of God focused living.
5. Agape love comes from God and can only be sustained by Him. There are so many types of love: the love for a friend, the love for a significant other, the love for a family member, the love of a thing, or even the love for a pet. Agape love is the most powerful love. It is unconditional. It is committed. It is a love that wants to love and is committed to love forever. It is not limited to the emotional realm of feelings. Agape love runs deep into the spirit. It says I love you for who you are and by the way I want to love you. It is powerful because it touches not only the emotions, but the spirit, the mind and it is the only love that completes the human heart. Only God can give us this kind of love and it flows from Him to us. Only then can we give it away to others.
6. Love doesn’t always feel good. Sometimes love hurts. Sometimes we hurt God. I know we like to think that God is detached but He isn’t. He wants our love and devotion. We can hurt Him by chosing to turn from Him. We can hurt Him by chosing to hurt someone He loves. I am not saying that for one second He stops loving us. I am saying He desires all of us and we can grieve Him with our actions. Sometimes we don’t understand Him and we hurt. We feel He isn’t near, He hasn’t answered quick enough/at all, or that He is punishing us. We can’t see the whys so we assume He doesn’t love us. Well, the truth is God loves us. He will never stop loving us. The truth is, God wants our love. He wants our affection, our time, and our very lives.
7. Anything or anyone we love more than God will disappoint us. I can not stress enough the importance of loving Him first and the most. No one can love us the way He does. No one can be there for us the way He is. No one can fill the God sized void in our hearts. No one can heal us, restore us, tell us who we are, and give us love/acceptance/hope/joy/reason for living like Him. I have learned that often in life He allows us to be disappointed by human love so we can seek a deeper love from Him. He deserves to be first in our lives.
So I hope you recognize you are loved. There is so much more to talk about but that will have to wait. I am praying you and I are taken to the deepest depths of His love this year. What we need more than anything is to receive more of His love. God fill our hearts with your love. More love God. Pour in and allow us to pour out. Let the world see Your love in our hearts.