I have been given the daunting task to speak on love. I can only start by defining love. What is love?
Love is one of those elastic words with multiple meanings. The New Universal Webster’s and Oxford Dictionaries take a good portion of the page just to define love. I guess everybody has his/her own definition of love, love meaning different things to different people at different times. Sometimes love means strong or passionate affection for someone or something. At other times love means strong desire or attraction toward a person of the opposite sex. Love also means taking intense pleasure or to delight in someone or something. For example, one might say, “I love my mommy/daddy/brother/sister/friend,” “I love music” or “I love food,” etc. Confusing, isn’t it?
But as Disciples of Christ, that is, Emulators of Christ, we should not at all be confused by worldly meanings of this sacred concept, love. We will therefore take our definition from the Bible, which lets us know in John 3: 16 that, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” From this example, we can see that God’s love is benevolent, i.e., God’s love is about doing good and being kind and generous to Humankind. God loved us so much that He gave…That is the model of love that, as Christians, we are to take and emulate. What have you done lately for someone you love? Lest you misunderstand me, I’m not necessarily talking about buying gifts and that sort of thing, there’s a host of things you can do for the people you love in a godly manner, such as, praying for them, visiting them and helping them one way or the other when they need it most, etc.
Love has some specific characteristics that, though some phonies usually fake it on certain aspects, are unmistakable. One of them is that love is contagious. It is easy to deceive a human being about love by making things look hunky-dory when actually you are fooling them just to take advantage of them. For example, we all need to be loved, and we all know this, but sometimes, one can say “I love you” just to get something from you. Not so with the Lord! Can no one deceive the Lord! He knows us inside out better than we know ourselves. He can tell a fake love from a distance! That’s why, to help us not to waste our time trying to deceive Him, He established that the only way we can truly show Him that we have been “contaminated” by His Love, is by keeping His Commandments.” (John 14:15). He says, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself in him.” (John 14:21).
What love is not:
“Love is not: lust, seeking vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another. (Gal 4:24 &26). Some people will pretend to be your friend just so they could come to your house and see what they have that you do not have, and boast about it, or what they do not have that you have, so they can envy you for it. Some people’s testosterone/estrogen is high, and they “fall in love” with you, call you ten times a day, buy you flowers and expensive gifts, etc. The testosterone/estrogen levels plummet, and they forget to call you for as long as this hormone love stays low! It could also be because somebody else caught their eye or mind at the time they were high on this hormone. And all of this is called love! No no no, that’s not love!
How do you know you have true godly love?
Since we are so prone to lust, seeking vainglory, provoking and envying one another, how do I know I have God-approved love? I’m glad you asked? Let’s go to Romans 5:6 &8 which says, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”; “But God commendeth His Love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” To answer your question, you know you love God when you can still talk to the mean, the ignorant and the wicked, in spite of their ignorance and wickedness.
I said earlier that the Lord established the keeping of His Commandments as sole proof of our love for Him. Now, just how do I keep His Commandments, and what are these Commandments? The Lord summarized the Ten Commandments in just two, love God with all your all, and love your neighbor as yourself. To His disciples He commanded that we should love one another, even as He has loved us. How did He love us? He loved us while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Let us do the same: let’s love people when they do not deserve it. This will give them a chance to come to their senses and get saved.
The godly love is not a natural thing. It is a spiritual thing. It becomes easy for us to love like God only when we deny ourself and take up the cross as we follow Christ daily. When you love in the power of your ego, you will find it impossible to love someone who is unnecessarily mean to you. You will even find it too difficult to think about other people than yourself.
Most people love in their ego power, even in the Church! That’s why, like the world, divorce, dysfunctional families, and bad relationships have become rampant, even in the Church! People can’t stand each other, because the ego cannot either sincerely repent or forgive. The only way anybody is going to sincerely repent, forgive and reconcile is by self denial, which is an invitation to the Holy Spirit to take control of your entire being. As you continue to let Jesus be the Lord of your mind and soul, it becomes natural for you to forgive and to love in spite of. The love of God is not based on merit. So should yours be!
By the way, I love you! God bless you!