Ask any teenager or senior citizen, “What is love?” and their answers reflect a similar influence. Love involves feelings—romanticized by music, literature, and media. We all yearn to recreate that intimacy based on what seems so ideal. Our deepest longings shape what defines love—fervor, passionate, flawless, perfect, and fulfillment, joy.
When we express love, we develop a strong emotional attachment, anticipating our love to be returned. What do I receive out of the relationship? What’s my level of contentment? Our feelings focus upon discovering that one individual who satisfies all our heart’s desires. Sadly, what nourished and warmed our love for one season often withers and grows cold. “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
The Cost of Giving
What is love if not costly? Real love demands sacrifice that can’t be found in self-centeredness. You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. Sacrificial love requires that we give what we value most: our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Real love does not always follow our natural inclinations; it is not an impulse from feelings.
Love can only be understood from the actions it prompts. When we bear with the failings and weaknesses of others, divine love reveals itself. At all costs, this love compels us to give so that we alleviate the suffering of others. Instead of seeking to fulfill our emotional and physical needs, we humbly give of ourselves.
In a response to, “What is Love?” it is erroneous to say “love is God.” God created love, not the reverse. He deliberately chose to express His love to us—revealing the very nature of God Himself.
God Is Sacrificial—God initiated an eternal love relationship with us before we loved Him. God Is Merciful—God extended the wealth of His kindness even when we were undeserving of His love. God Is Faithful—Even in the most extreme circumstances, God’s love for us remains secure. God did not need to create the universe. He made that choice as an expression of His ultimate love for us. Then God created us a certain way—to experience all that perfect love was meant to be.
As Ephesians 3:17-18 says, “ . . . May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is.”
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