What Is Love?
Scripture plainly states that Jesus is love. For love, the answer is ALWAYS JESUS.
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. - 1 John 4:8
God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. - 1 John 4:6
However, what is love? When scripture says Jesus (God) IS love, what does that mean? Our culture (western culture) considers "love" is something that is beyond our control. Psychology Today states:
Love is a force of nature. However much we may want to, we can not command, demand, or take away love, any more than we can command the moon and the stars and the wind and the rain to come and go according to our whims. - Psychology Today, November 25, 2011
Yet scripture commands us to love our enemies. How can we do this, if it is beyond our ability to control love? The Merriam-Webster definition captures how we define love:
- (1) strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties maternal love for a child.
- (2) attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers After all these years, they are still very much in love.
- (3) affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests love for his old schoolmates.
- 1b: an assurance of affection give her my love.
- 2: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion love of the sea.
- 3a: the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration baseball was his first love.
- 3b: a beloved person : darling — often used as a term of endearment.
Notice that in all of these definitions, love is defined by how we feel. Love is a feeling that arises within us in response to another person or object. So psychology today is right. How can we control our feelings? They are what they are. Yet, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus plainly says:
But I say to you, love your enemies... - Matthew 5:44
It's a command, meaning something we must do. But, I don't like my enemies. I have no love for my enemies. How can I change my feelings? I can't do that!
The problem is not that we cannot love, the problem is that, in the English translation of scripture, there is not a good word for what Jesus is telling us to do. The word in Greek is "agape," which is translated as "love" in English. But, "agape" has nothing to do with feelings. Agape is an action word. It means to DO something beneficial for another person. It means to do something that helps to meet the REAL needs of another person. That is the love of God. The most famous verse in the Bible is a good illustration:
For God so loved [agape] the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. - John 3:16
Agape... God took action. His love was an action. His love is the action of giving His only Son. Without that action, there is no love.
God is love. That means that EVERYTHING God does is good.... is truth... is perfect. We are commanded to love God first, and above ALL else.
One of the scribes came up and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.. - Mark 12:28-31
We are to love God first and foremost. That means our actions are to glorify God in all things. We are to obey God, and live our life so as to glorify God.
Secondarily we are to love (agape) other people. That means, without violating the command to love God, we are to DO things to help other meet the real needs of other people. It does not matter whether we like them or not. Love has nothing to do with our feelings. Our actions should be actions that meet their real needs. What is the #1 need people have? The gospel. Jesus. Above all else, people need Jesus.
What is love? The answer is ALWAYS JESUS.
YOU DON'T HAVE A CHANCE
What you believe does not determine reality nor truth. That would make you god. But you ARE NOT god. You don't control the universe. You cannot change reality. Let's try an experiment. At about midnight stand in the middle of the road just around a corner where it is hard to be seen... at night, wearing all black. When headlights start lighting up the curve, just believe that whatever is coming does not exist. Stand firm, if you don't believe a vehicle is coming, then nothing is coming. You are perfectly safe... until reality hits.
You are now standing before Jesus. You are dead. It's judgment day. You don't want to believe it's Jesus and you will be judged. But it is. That's reality.
Judgment only takes a moment, the verdict is obvious, and you know it is correct. You are guilty. You've lied, stolen and sexually lusted after others (Matthew 5:28)... you have disobeyed God. Trusting Jesus is the only answer, but it's too late. You had your last chance just before you died.
You know it's no use to protest, but still you scream out, 'I didn't know!'
But you did know. All of creation declared God's glory, His invisible attributes, and His power. You have no excuse. You willingly rejected Jesus Christ (God).
Is this you? Are you saying, 'Hell isn't so bad, I'll be with my friends.' You know that's not true. There are no friends in hell. No beer... not even water to cool your lips. There is NOTHING good in hell.
So I beg you, consider these words. Trust Jesus as having paid your penalty for every way you've have rejected God. Trust Jeus to save you from hell and bring you into the presense of God.
Trust Jesus. Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. - Acts 16:31