Valentines Day: a day that only comes once a year, where the word “love” is often misused or over-amplified.
People often use the word “love” when they really enjoy something. For example, someone might say “I love pizza!” or “I love watching Netflix!” We know that the word “love” is often associated with things we hold dear to us, and for that reason, we need to understand why the word “love” is often misinterpreted.
According to Webster’s dictionary, the word “love” is defined by an intense feeling of deep affection. On the other hand, the Bible describes love a bit differently.
Let’s have a look at God’s description of the word love in 1 Corinthians 13:4:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
The Bible tells us in Mark 12:31 to “love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the first commandment. Some might ask, “How can I love God and love my neighbor at the same time?” Jesus’ answer to that question is “yes.” He doesn’t intend for us to be confused us saying we need to love God and love our neighbor in the same breath. Instead, He wants to point out that loving God will result in loving our neighbor, and the result of loving our neighbor is driven by our love for God. In Jesus’ eyes, love is not based on how we feel but rather it is based on how we act. To love someone requires active participation in choosing to love Him and others. This is why God gave each of us a free-will, in order for us to be able to choose.
The kind of love that is described by God in 1 Corinthians 13:4 is a reflection of His love for each of us. He longs for us to know how much He loves you and me, and in return, wants us to love Him too. The unfortunate reality is, however, none of us love God by default. In fact, no one was born of God due to sin’s penalty found in the book of Genesis. When the fall of Adam and Eve’ occurred in the pages of Genesis, their sin is what caused separation from God because sin always separates us from Him. Today, our sin is what keeps us from fully knowing Him-which is why He tells us we must be born again.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
I remember reading the book of Genesis for the first time and thinking to myself, “Oh man, we’re doomed!” But after I learned about the saving Redeemer in the latter pages of the Bible-Jesus Christ-everything changed. I learned that Jesus’ sole purpose for coming to earth in the form of a man was to save us from eternal separation from God. His primary goal in life was to share with others the love of God and to show them how they can enter into a personal relationship with Him through Jesus.
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).
The question is, do we believe God and His Word? The Lord does not require anything from us except to believe Him. Believe that He is. Believe His Word. Believe His unfailing love for us. That in itself is the definition of true love. Love doesn’t expect something in return. Love is a choice not based on “what do I get out of this?” Love is simply based on our adoration for what God has done for us, by sending His Son as our only source of hope. God does not require a lump sum of cash or a sacrificial offering, He just wants us.
What do we do with this kind of love? God tells us what we can do once we’ve received Him into our hearts and trusted Him with our lives. In Mathew 28:19, Jesus says as a result of believing Him to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” As previously mentioned, we are called to love God and love our neighbor; this requires the help of the Holy Spirit enabling us to be His witnesses.
The ripple effect of someone else’s experiencing God’s love was what enabled me to receive it for myself. This is why I decided to create this blog, and my newly published book titled “Back to Being Sara: Breaking the Bondage of Eating Disorders.” Once I found out about the love God has for me, I couldn’t help but keep silent about it. I told my friends and family members about what happened to me once I chose to trust Him as my personal Saviour. I thought about sharing my personal testimony in the form of a blog, which turned into a book, which turned into me speaking at several different churches and telling them about God’s love.
The love of Jesus is contagious. We can’t help but wonder “what is different about that person?” when we see someone living in joyful obedience with the Lord. It all starts when we choose to love God, as He first loved us (1 John 4:19).