Puppy love. Romantic love. Family love. Real love. Do you remember the stages of life when love was one thing, and now that you look back you realize, well, maybe that wasn’t love. Or maybe it was Love 1.0, and now you’re at Love 7.7. Are you at the stage where you can see just how you and love have matured, and how love has a completely different meaning now?
As I watch my kids, I know that they are going to through those stages as well. I know that they will have their heartbroken at some point by someone with whom they thought they were “in love.” As much as I wish they didn’t have to (because as you remember, that kind of “love” is a rollercoaster when you’re young), I also realize it is part of their maturing. They have to learn. They need to mature and see what real love is.
DC Talk, back in the day, had a song called Love is a Verb. The song basically told us that love isn’t something that you fall into, it isn’t something that hits us, but that to love, we have to do something. We serve because we love. We sacrifice because we love. Love is those acts we perform to show our devotion, affection, and dedication to that person.
I want to say something that some of you may not agree with here. To truly love, we must love God first. We have to be Christians to truly love. We have to experience the type of love God has for us. In 1 John 4:8, John writes, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Here’s something else about that verse. If we claim to know God, but we don’t show our love to our family, to our kids, to our friends, to our coworkers, to others, then we don’t know God like we thought we did. If we did, then we would know that God shows his love to us. He shows us through mercy and grace, through sacrifice. He doesn’t give us what we deserve. I don’t know about you, but I thank God for that!
1 John 4:10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” What an amazing love!
Let’s look just a little deeper and close with these thoughts from John. In 1 John 5:1-3, we get a little bit of a wake up call.
“1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3This is love for God: to obey his commands.”
Did you catch that? How do we know that we are loving others? By loving God and doing what He has told us to do! God has never told us to be selfish in love. Jesus never said that if we wanted to see God then we had to live in a bubble. We are never told to stay in our hedge of protection and not show our love to the world. In fact, we are called to be the light to the world. People should know we are Christians by our love!
So, as you look back today, ask yourself if your view of love has changed. How has it matured. Do you have a love for Christ that allows you to love and show love the way He intended it?
Then ask, what is love?
God is love.