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To say we are obsessed with love is an understatement. We are enchanted by it and often destroyed by our own voracious search for it.
We go through tremendous effort to find or even just taste love. It is so powerful that for many, the meaning of life is finding true love.
So what is love?
Is it an emotion? A state of being? How do we define it?
A few years ago, I asked God these questions. He led me to 1 John 4, and something jumped out at me in verses 8 and 10:
“Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love … This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
That doesn’t mean every person who has experienced love has a relationship with God. There are people who are not followers of Christ who give and receive love. In fact, I would argue almost everyone on earth has experienced some kind of love. It is our nature to look for love.
So, is 1 John 4 wrong?
If we try to understand these verses by our human standard of true love, then it does seem wrong. But 1 John 4 isn’t talking about our understanding of love. The love John is talking about is completely different. Love in this context is pure and unadulterated. It is actually true love: God Himself.
Love is neither an emotion nor a state of being. The Bible says true love is a person.
When seeking to define love, it is interesting to notice John doesn’t say, “God loves” or “God is loving.” He says, “God is love.”
What does that mean?
It means that to love us perfectly, completely and eternally – to love every person at every moment – is mere reflex for God. The incredible thing is, God has never wavered in this feeling for even one moment.
We often view true love as something that must be inspired within us, but God says in His Word we’ve got it backwards.
There is only one place we can look to find love that is true, and it is not within ourselves or other people.
Is there any hope then for experiencing true love in this world? The answer to this question is three-fold:
This love can seem confusing, especially around a holiday when we witness so many people expressing love, many of whom do not know or care about God.
As wonderful as some of these acts of love are, we have to understand they are a mere shadow of the true thing. Our idea of love is microscopic in comparison to the true height, width and depth of the affection God has for us. Only believers in Christ can truly begin to comprehend or taste love in its actual potency this side of heaven.
So as Valentine’s Day approaches and it’s tempting to feel rejected, or to worship a love that can’t satisfy, I encourage you to look to the source. God desires our pursuit of love to lead us to the only thing that can fulfill – Himself.
Look to Him – He has loved you first.
Perhaps this Halloween is the perfect opportunity to respond selflessly in love and care for our neighbors, as well as a way to fight our tendency to isolate.
This Valentine’s Day may you experience God’s love in a deeper way by being reminded of 14 things about His love.
#LOVEDENOUGH: Coming to terms with the “ought-not-to-be-ness” around & inside us.
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