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  • Writer's pictureSusan

What is Love?

Updated: Feb 19, 2023

Love is not all rainbows, sparkles and warm fuzzy feelings like many believe. People fall in and out of love every day. Is that really love? Real love can be messy and painful. In some cases, it can be the most difficult thing to do. Love is what led Jesus to die on a cross. So, what is love?

The warm fuzzy feelings you get when you meet someone new or when things are going well, are great! They're an oxytocin fix as our brain is flooded with chemicals that help us to bond with each other. Those feelings are wonderful, but they can come and go, depending on circumstances. People often equate these feelings with love, but is that really love. Real love, is the result of the choices you've made and effort you've put into having a relationship with another person. It's grown and developed over time. Real love can weather the storms in our lives, building trust, respect, and resilience.

Think about a friend who does something to hurt you. The easy thing to do is walk away from the friendship. Love, means you make a choice to go back to that person, to try to understand why they did it. Maybe they misunderstood your words or intentions. Maybe you misunderstood. You try to see things from their point of view and work through the problem. You try to fix the relationship. This is exactly what Jesus did with humanity! What He continues to do. This is the work of reconciliation.

When Adam and Eve chose to believe the lies about God, it led them to hide in fear from Him. God didn't separate Himself from them, they separated themselves from God. God didn't stop loving them, but they chose to not accept the love flowing from God. " Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love." 1 John 4:18.

Love chose to do the difficult thing, coming down to this earth to understand and be understood. God chose to grow the relationship in adversity revealing the heights and depths of His love for us. In Jesus, God would provide a way for us to know Him better and experience His love.

If we're still looking for a feeling, we need to get to know who God is through Bible study, prayer and the Holy Spirit. Imagine yourself starting a relationship with someone who we refused to communicate with? What would we base the relationship on? Could we feel their love if we blocked off all avenues? When we learn more about God's character and draw closer to Him, our interactions cause us to become more intimately linked. We find out that God's love was a decision, backed up by some serious action that caused Him to suffer and die on a cross. Far from warm, fuzzies, feelings born out of this sort of relationship resonate on a much deeper level of our being and transform us. How could they not? We know that God is in the storm with us and that we will pull through it together.

This kind of love is best summed up by Paul, the author of the letter to the Corinthian church members, "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, it is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 (NKJV)

"If I had the gift of speaking any language, including the language of angels, but didn't have love, I would be like a noisy gong or clanging cymbals. If I had the gift of predicting the future and could understand all science and fathom all knowledge, or if I had so much faith that I could move mountains, but didn't have love, it would be worthless. If I gave everything I had to the church or used all my money to feed the poor, or if I became a martyr by being burned to death for Christ, but didn't have love, all such acts would count for nothing. Love is patient and kind. It doesn't envy or boast, nor is it puffed up with its own importance. Love is never rude nor does it behave disorderly. It's not interested in itself, does not become angry or keep truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes for all things and endures all things. Love will not fail. One day prophecies will end, the gift of languages will cease, and our imperfect knowledge will vanish. We know so little and then that which is imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, because I understood and thought as a child. But when I grew up, I put my childish ways of thinking behind me. Now we see things obscurely, as in a dark mirror, but then we will see thigs as they really are. Now, I know God through His word, but then, I will know Him face to face, personally, as He knows me. There are three important things that will last forever: faith, hope and love, But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13 (CW)

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