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 21,140,000,000 results in 0.63 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? One definition I heard from a philosopher years ago goes like this: “Love is a feeling you’re going to feel, when you have a feeling you feel you have never felt before.”

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
  • “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will disclose Myself to him.” – John 14:21
  • “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
  • “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

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. This kind of love is a commitment to relate to others in a giving, sacrificial and other-centered manner. It involves laying down our own lives for the sake of others. It means daily 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.”

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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