True Love

by Pastor Mark Shupe

It is the month of Love, highlighted by that special day for that special someone in your life. Love is not only in the air, but also a highly popular topic on the internet. A Google search on the word “love” returned 15,040,000,000 results in 0.48 seconds with all kinds of ideas, thoughts and definitions of this commonly used word.

With so much information and hype about love, it’s easy to miss the deeper meaning of the word. What is true love? Is it simply a “strong affection for another” as defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary? Or is it only some kind of weird emotion that stirs within us?

When considering the deeper meaning of love, it helps to look to the original Creator and Author of love – God Himself! We read in 1 John 4:7-8 that “God is love” and “love is from God.” So, what does God have to say about this mysterious and wonderful concept of love?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” – 1 John 4:10

The kind of love that God defines, and that which Christ so perfectly modeled for us, is much deeper than an affection or strong emotion. It is a commitment to give; one of self-sacrifice for the betterment of others. The greatest act of love ever was Christ sacrificing His life on the cross for all of us!

That is the kind of love we are to extend to others on a daily basis. It requires a commitment to relate in a giving, sacrificial and other-centered manner. It involves laying down our own lives for the sake of others, choosing to place the interests of others above our own, giving preference to others, honoring and forgiving others.

As Dave Willis states in his book The 7 Laws of Love: “Love is an unconditional commitment to selflessly serve, truthfully communicate, fearlessly protect, gracefully forgive, compassionately heal, and enduringly remain in relationship with and for the sake of another.”

The Apostle Paul spoke much about the supremacy of love including in his letter to the church at Colossae.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. – Colossians 3:12-14

This Valentine’s Day, think of ways you can demonstrate the deeper and lasting meaning of love to those in and around your life. And then go and show forth the true love of Christ.


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