Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and loves God. – 1 John 4:7
We talk of first loves, that first person who awakened that hidden part of us, that person with whom we felt a deep and sometimes instant connection. We talk about our love for a particular food, for a particular song or actor or movie or for a particular activity. We love a good love story.
We love the word “love.” We love the concept of love. But what is love, really? Let’s look at the Source of all love.
God Is Love
Even people who don’t necessarily believe in God love embrace the concept of a God who is love (see 1 John 4:8). However, they twist that verse to justify actions based on the release of adrenaline, serotonin, dopamine or oxytocin. A physiological response becomes God’s stamp of approval. Uh, no.
This is the crowd that celebrates corruption of our God-given sexuality through such filth as Fifty Shades of Grey. This is the hookup culture. This is the culture that teaches marriage should only last until you fall out of love – that is, till the chemical rush subsides. This is the culture that tells you if it feels good, do it. This renders love into a discardable sensory experience. But if God is love, then love is definitely something much more.
Love Reflects God’s Nature
If God is love, then it stands to reason that love – true love – is God, and true love therefore reflects God’s nature. Contrary to popular opinion, God’s love isn’t weak or mushy or wishy-washy. It is strong and certain and unvaccilating.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16
We’ve all heard that verse so much that we rattle it off without a second thought as another notch in our memory-verse belts. But have you thought about it – really thought about it?
Love Is Irrational
He so loved the world. This is the world that rejected Him, the world that sought to elevate just about anything else to the place only He rightly deserved. Yet He loved.
His love was so great that it compelled Him to give. And He didn’t give halfheartedly. He gave what was most precious to Him – Himself. Though He is holy, incapable of knowing any sin, He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). He took our sin to the grave and buried it deep so that He would look upon it no more.
And unlike the worldly lover, He asked for nothing back except childlike faith. He simply asks us to believe Him and believe in Him. This is an irrational love, and this is true love.
The Only True Love
I’ve known the thrill of romantic love, and I’ve suffered heartbreak. But I sincerely believe that I never knew true love until I truly knew God, who is love.
He teaches us to love unselfishly, sacrificially and unconditionally. He teaches us to love with no expectation of receiving anything substantial in return. Just as He chooses to love us despite our fallen natures, so we must love the fallen people He has put in our lives.
Yes, love is a thrill, but after a while, the thrill is gone. Then the choice remains: Will you love as God loves?
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13