BY KATELYN NOWOCIN
What comes to mind when you think of love? Do you think of romantic gestures, pure bliss, lots of laughter, pleasure or that feeling of “butterflies in your stomach?” Romantic movies and other media sources distort love and denote it as being sing-songy, rarely marred by conflict, always joyful, continuously exciting and on a ‘high’ all of the time, but that’s not the reality of what love is. These images have major impacts on people’s expectations and idea of what true love really is. Our culture values intimacy and connection above all else. It glamorizes relationships as being the primary path to happiness and success.
People’s relationships are becoming more and more selfish rather than what Christ intended for it to be, which is selfless. Christ teaches us that love is not what you can do for me, but it is what I can do for you. Ephesians 2:8 states that “it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” In other words, there’s nothing that you can do to earn or denounce Christ’s love; He loves you regardless of your works. Just the same, we must love others whether it’s easy to love them or not. This is the standard the Christ has given us: to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Mathew 5:44). True love is serving the other person and encouraging them to flourish in their God given potential. True love is not always pretty, but it’s always worth it. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). True love is sacrificial. True love is purposeful. True love is the most powerful tool we have. It is written, “whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8).
What is Love?
Today in our culture love is the only thing that seems to matter. Love is definitely a beautiful thing, but have you ever wondered why so many people seem to fall out of love? It’s because they were mistaking their feelings and emotions to what love actually is. Regardless of what society tells you, love is not a feeling or an emotion, but a choice. I’m sure Christ didn’t feel like dying on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven but He chose to regardless. He did it so that we could be set free from death and have eternal life in Heaven with Him. As Paul Sorensen suggests; “our world says here and now is the greatest good and making myself happy is paramount. Biblically, love is about loving the other person and giving to them.” For it is written that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). So though we weren’t worthy of God’s love for us, He sacrificed Himself for us. This is true love at its core!
1 John 3:16-18 states “this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” This is one of the best illustrations of what love is in the Bible! It is clear that love is an action, for it cannot be measured down to just words. Love is not a feeling; love is a conscious decision that you make. It’s not always going to be easy to love others, but we must do so because we do not represent ourselves but Christ. Just like how Jesus says in Luke 9:23 that “if anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me,” we must do the same when it comes to loving others. Here’s a scenario: your husband has had a really bad day at work and he wants to talk to you/ needs your advice, but you’re way too tired and all you want to do is go to bed, what do you do? You better believe that you are going to deny yourself, listen to him, see how his heart is, encourage him, pray with him and not go to sleep until he is better! This is what true love is. Just the same, the word of God says “husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). This is a huge commitment, but this is what true love is! On that note, we will get into the roles of husbands and wives another day! The point in all of this is that there’s a lot more to love than excitement and thrill-there’s a God-given purpose to love.
Below are some powerful verses about love:
· And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13)
· Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)
· Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31)
· Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9)
· The second commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ’There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31)
· In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself (Ephesians 5:28)
· However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband (Ephesians 5:33)
· Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs (Proverbs 10:12)
I love what Paul Sorensen says about love: “your life as a believer in Christ is to strategically give yourself away for the Kingdom of God.” Love is putting someone else’s needs before your own, like Christ did dying for us. We should all strive to love one another like Jesus. So as you celebrate this weekend, remember what Christ did for you and what dying on the cross represents. It represents freedom through sacrificial love. We must do the same with our actions towards one another. I will thus end this post with my favorite verse about love, which illustrates perfectly the definition of love. So what is love you ask? “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” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Katelyn is a 19 year old girl who desires to bring people closer to God and hopes that women will follow God instead of their hearts.