Walking by Faith
What is love?
March 10, 2022
Isn’t love wonderful? The warm feeling you get when you hug your children, the excitement when you see your loved one, the joy you have when you spend time laughing with your friends. The comfort you receive from family during difficult times. Or sometimes it is simply the satisfaction of eating your favorite foods. Love comes in so many shapes and sizes. Everybody has a deep desire to love and be loved. But what is love? Why are we innately drawn to love? And does love always make us feel good?
Love is described in 1 Corinthians: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV)
Like everything in our existence, the human design for love traces back to our Creator who designed us in His image and made us to love and be loved by Him. When asked by the Pharisees which is the greatest commandment of all, Jesus replied in Gospel of Matthew “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 24:37-39, KJV).
In fact, God commands we love Him above all else: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”(Matthew 10:37-39 KJV). Love is the main message of the bible. A real, sacrificial love is what our God desires from all whom believe and are called to be His children.
But when we are no longer feeling the warm and fuzzy feelings and the real work of love sets in, we tend to abandon ship in search of the next “feeling” of love. The reality is “love” is not subjective to how “we” feel. The fact of the matter is love has nothing to do with how we feel, as real love is about exclusively loving God first and foremost and then others above ourselves. But we live in a world of “self-love”, if it feels good, do it, if you want it, you deserve it and if it doesn’t make you feel good, avoid or remove it. We create an image of love in our minds that is self-serving and seek after it, only to find constant hurt, disappointment and emptiness. We want the good fruits of love without any real work, sacrifice or suffering. The love of our Heavenly Father is often through His chastisement of our lives to correct our behavior, and in my case it has always been painful lessons.
“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Hebrews 12:5-6 KJV). The Lord goes on to explain “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”(Hebrews 13:11 KJV). God guarantees us we will experience grief while we endure loving Him and others, but he assures us the grief is only a short season and after it will yield “peaceable and righteous fruits”.
What we really need to do is understand what “love” is and commit to loving the Lord above all else, and others as our Father in Heaven loves us. He accepts and loves us for all our faults, sins and wicked hearts and still extends His everlasting grace through Christ and mercy to us. Something none of us truly deserve. He is faithful, He is dependable, He is “the same yesterday, and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 KJV), He is a perfect example of how we should love.
When you think through your experiences of love, ask yourself if your love is a reflection of the love we receive from our Heavenly Father. Are we loving through the good and the bad? Are we enduring the painful seasons with hope for a brighter future? Are we sacrificing our needs to meet those we claim to love? Are we loving the Lord above all else? If you find yourself answering “no” to these questions, you are not alone. The glorious news of the gospel is it is never too late and you can start today showing real love to the Lord and to all those in our lives. When we can truly love the way we were designed to, we will experience what true love is. We will have overflowing hearts of joy, peace and fulfillment that nothing on this earth can compare and only then can we truly understand what it means to love.
Heather Piper owns The Foxhole Eatery in Hot Springs. She has a Bachelor of Art in Psychology & Social Behavior is a certified Behavior Change Specialist and is active at her local bible church and community spreading the good news of the Gospel. Heather encourages you to reach out with questions or feedback at [email protected]