Like most people, I use the word “love” quite freely. In the same breath, I use to tell my wife that I love her, I also profess my love for fried chicken. Of course, if you know me well, you know that my love for fried chicken knows no bounds, so it’s relatively high praise for my wife… you’re welcome, Jaclyn!
But in all seriousness, we banter around the word ‘love’ when we talk about people, food, movies, T.V. shows, music, vacation spots, clothes, sports, cars… you name it, we “LOVE” it. Even McDonald’s theme is “I’m love’n it.”
It kind puts a damper on the meaning of “love” when we use it interchangeably for deep emotions, like the kind I feel for my wife and kids, with the more superficial emotions I feel for my favorite foods.
So, what is love? Measured in human standards, love is transitory, like “passionate love, young love, and first loves.” All of these loves change or end. This makes it hard to understand God’s everlasting, eternal, and unconditional love. Our “love” often has an expiration date, and therefore, we can’t comprehend a Love the escapes all bounds of time and place.
Unlike our first loves, God loves us at our very best and lowest worst. This true LOVE is his greatest gift, which he commands us to ‘pay forward.’ In short, God wants us to love.
So, how do we do this? The Bible tells us that love suffers long, is kind, does not envy, does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things and never fails. Wow… that’s a long laundry list, yet it’s how God loves us. It’s also the only way we can help others come to God. We cannot strong-arm the unbeliever… we cannot bully them into belief… We can only love them toward God. If we are to exhibit our faith, we need to do it with a love that rejoices in truth and hope.
The truth is, especially in today’s world, we could all use a little more love in our lives, and we could certainly work on delivering a lot more love to each other. I encourage you to act in love first this week and see how it changes the relationships around you and tunes you into God’s purpose and promise for you.