People, like me, say they love nachos then two seconds later whisper ‘I love you’ to their youngest child. Since when did the word love even come close to comparable to my affection toward nachos or even coffee. I feel very strongly about coffee. (Don’t get me started.) I think I love my son more than coffee and nachos… most days.
The butterflies in my tummy fluttered the first time I heard my now husband tell me that he loved me. After three babies, two miscarriages, seven moves, and twenty years later (most of which working in ministry), those three little words mean something entirely different. They mean more from a man who has seen me at my absolute worst.
I love you. Those tender little words; words that change relationships. Words that should mean something.
I often pick on Hollywood. The fact is, there is very little that comes out of Hollywood that impresses me. Hollywood’s definition of love may be my biggest beef with the entire entertainment industry. Well, that and the sexual exploitation of anything and everything, but we’ll save that topic for another blog.
Hollywood would lead you to believe that love is mostly a mushy, gushy instantaneous feeling between two people, a feeling that undoubtedly leads to compulsory and unquenchable sexual activity leaving both partners completely fulfilled living happily ever after; until the other extreme occurs, of course. Hollywood would also lead you to believe that love dies randomly between two people. It just dies. Couples just don’t feel that spark any more; so kaput and fizzle after sizzle, sizzle, sizzle. Enter new sparkly relationship and the cycle continues till you die.
Here’s the problem, love is not lust. Love is not a warm fuzzy. Love is not instantaneous. Love isn’t attraction, that’s chemical. Love isn’t even romantic candlelit dinners, that’s just fun.
Love, my friends, love is work. Love is action. Love is laying down everything you want for the sake of someone who may or may not deserve it. Love can be completely sacrificial. Love is a daily commitment to choose a life-style counter to everything that self-serves. Some days this is easy. Some days it is not.
Most parents understand love. Love stays up all night long with a sick child even when you have a fever and need to work the next day. Love is a man who remains faithful to an invalid wife for forty years. Love is a dutiful child who cares for a parent suffering with Alzheimer’s disease who will never recognize them again. Love is a committed task, and sometimes offers no payback.
Thanks to Paul we have a great definition of what love is beginning in 1 Corinthians 13:4. Let’s ask ourselves some tough questions today… Are you ready? Take a sip of coffee first…
Are you patient?
Are you kind?
Are you jealous?
Are you arrogant?
Are you a gossip?
Are you selfish?
Are you quick-tempered?
Are you holding a grudge?
If you struggle with any of these like I do, then God may be trying to develop your ability to love those around you. Love is one of those fruits that always needs tending simply because you will always find a situation (or person) where it isn’t easy to love. Life may require that you act in love even when it doesn’t make sense to the rest of world around you.
After all, love required that an innocent man die for the entirety of mankind’s sin. THAT doesn’t make sense at all. It never will make sense, but that’s love. And that is how we reveal love to others. Does that sound like Hollywood? All effort and zero reward. I’ve yet to see that movie…unless it is a TRUE story.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” -John 15:13
1. Are you willing to lay your will down for someone else? How are some ways that you do this in your life regularly? Does knowing that Jesus was willing to sacrifice so much make it easier for you to sacrifice for others?
2. Does your ability to love need tending? It’s easy to love those who love us in return. Are you willing to actively love someone who doesn’t deserve it? How can you sacrifice to show Godly love to someone today? Read this verse and focus on what love truly is:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
We may never be able to perfectly love during out time in the world. In fact, I know we won’t. This doesn’t mean we give up on it. The best news is that perfect love came for us and rescued us when we didn’t deserve it. Write this down and meditate on it for a few minutes:
God’s love for you never fails. Never.
Reveal God’s love to someone today.