Today’s theme is supposed to be my personal definition of Love. Love is a big word, when you come to think of it. It encompasses everything from our love for chocolate to our love for our Savior. It’s a word used so liberally, that I have to actually stop in my tracks to really think about what I mean when I use the word “love.”
How do I define Love?
When I think about it, I find that it doesn’t matter much to me what my own definition of Love is.
I want to know the actual definition of Love.
You see, what matters most is not my own personal opinion on the matter, but the Truth. I believe that Truth is not relative. I believe in a concrete Reality that is the Source of All Other Realities. And I believe that Love, though I cannot see or touch it, is as concrete a reality as the nose on my own face, and is the very foundation on which this universe of ours was created.
Therefore, knowing what Love actually is is of utmost importance to me.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth.” ~1 John 3:16-18 (NIV – emphasis mine)
Love is not something we feel for someone – it is something we do to someone. It is the laying down of our lives in order to serve others in compassion and pity. Whether that be literally giving the shirt off my back to another, or meeting another kind of need in someone’s life at my own expense; Love is not Love where there is no action.
Practical, helpful, servant-like action. Yes, there are spiritual needs that need to be met, but if I don’t care first for the practical needs of my neighbors, starting with the people in my own home, the above passage states I cannot be of God.
Harsh? I don’t think so. I cannot meet any spiritual need anyway. Not really. My Love shouldn’t fulfill all the needs of others anyway, but instead point them to the One who can fulfill every need they have.
Notice also, that there is no “if – then” condition on love. I am commanded to love without condition, which is impossible to do without the empowering of the Holy Spirit residing within me. I need God Himself in order to Love wholly, rightly, and unconditionally.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” ~1 John 4:7-11 (NIV – emphasis mine)
Wait. I do see a condition placed on Love. If God loves me so much, it is imperative that I pass it on and love others – that I share the great Love lavished upon me. After all, that same Love belongs to every person on this planet (John 3:16). Only some don’t know it yet. I need to show them – by my actions and in truth.
That, my friends, is a tall order.
Love is serious business, summed up in this short sentence:
“Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:9-21)
Put the best interests of others in the same nook of your heart where you place your own best interests, and act on it. Do something. Love someone with your actions and with truth. Love like this never fails.
At least, not the Love I know.
…and now that I wrote that sentence, I have to just conclude on this note:
Sigh…the video refuses to embed properly, so here’s the link: The Love I Know (PFR)