It’s an interesting question. In the Christian faith love is one of, if not the, defining characteristics of life. Without love there is no Christianity. You can’t call yourself a Christian and not embrace and display true, godly, biblical love. Just can’t.
I’m not talking about an emotion or a physical attraction or romance. I’m talking about a Biblical love. The kind of love that motivated God to send Jesus to the earth (1 John 4:10). The kind of love that we’re told we are to build into our lives that will cause us not only to love other Christians (John 13:34-35) but even to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45).
I admit, I struggle with that last one. How do you love someone who lies about you, who gossips about you, who dislikes (hates?) you? It’s easy to say that we love them but words are easy and sometimes we lie to ourselves.
So, What is Love? What does it look like? How can you know if you possess it?
I don’t have all of the answers, especially to a question as difficult and all-encompassing as this one. But I do have some thoughts on the subject.
The defining Biblical statement on love is undoubtedly 1 Corinthians 13 and it teaches us several things.
Here are a few thoughts to mull over.
-Love acts – not out of self-interest but in the interest of others.
-Love isn’t determined by our circumstances.
-Love is not about Me.
-Love isn’t primarily about those who love me.
-Love isn’t affected by the actions of others.
-Love finds no joy in sinful things.
-Love loves truth.
-Love outlasts all failures.
Read 1 Corinthians 13, especially verses 4-8 and see if you don’t find each of these statements/descriptions.
Defining love may not be the hard part. The actual Loving is the hard part. It goes against every inclination and desire of our flesh. It’s not natural. It’s certainly not easy.
When God tells us to love, He’s telling us to do something beyond our own abilities. He’s telling us to do something supernatural. To love as God loves requires an act of the Holy Spirit in us. Without His enablement and empowerment, we cannot love. What we need is a daily filling of the Holy Spirit.
Ask God to fill you with the Spirit’s power so that you can know true love and show it to your world.
Stay in the Word