What is Love?
Throughout our lives we are shown many examples of love—or maybe I should say what people think love is. Clearly the artist Haddaway thought he got it right in his song “What is Love?”. The lyrics say “What is love? Baby don't hurt me. Don't hurt me no more”. This is a good song, but I don’t think not hurting someone shows your love for them. The word “love” is used in so many ways. We say “I love this coffee” in the same breath as “I love my spouse” or “I love my pizza” at the same time we say “I love Jesus”. How can pizza and Jesus be on the same level?
Society treats love as a romantic love—falling in love with someone. Having those butterfly feelings is considered having feelings of love. But that’s not really love. That’s infatuation. Infatuation wears off and dries up. Love is enduring. Society also tells us to love ourselves first—to take care of our own needs and strive for our own happiness. After all, if we aren’t happy, then we are going to makes everyone around us unhappy.
However, we need to not look to society for our definition of love. Our society has a warped view of love. It’s almost complete opposite of what God teaches in His Word. The Bible has a lot to say on the subject of love. Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-39 to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. He goes on to say this is the first commandment and then adds that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Let’s break this down. If we are told to love our neighbor as ourselves, what does this mean? Of course, it means all people, not just your literal neighbor. I mean, if we took this approach, people who live out in the country would be thinking “Sweet I have no neighbors. I’m good to go”.
So, loving each other means what? 1 Corinthians 13 says “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.” This needs to be the filter we put on every morning before our feet hit the floor. We need to see each other through the eyes of love. When we do this, we are looking through Gods eyes. He says He IS Love.
Practically what does this look like in our daily life? It’s putting others first; not making a list of all the wrongs done to you; forgiving others—this is why Jesus went to the cross for us because we have ALL been hurt—not having a 0-60 temper; not trashing others in person, behind their back, or on the internet; giving others a break, and realizing that we are all doing our best to get through life. It clearly says, “love never fails”, and with our understanding that God is love, that means God never fails us. Jesus is our greatest example of love. He died for us. He could have done anything He wanted, saved Himself, or changed His mind. This, my friends, is true love: giving up yourself, your needs, your wants, your desires, for another.
It says in John 13:35 “By this all people will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This means when you’re walking in love, you will not look like the rest of the world. You will be set apart, which is not a bad thing. I once told a group of girls at a Bible study that our daily filter we look through needs to be a filter of Jesus’s blood. It seems like a strange thing to say, but it’s because of His shed blood that we have everlasting life. If Jesus paid such a great price for us, surely, we can choose to walk in love and live in love towards each other. This is the greatest commandment.