What Is Love?
Guest Post By: Sarah Grosjean
In our day and age it’s hard to determine what love is because our society has blurred the line between obsession, attraction, lust and love.
I looked up the definition of love in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, and here was the definition they gave me:
:a feeling of strong or constant affection for someone
:attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship
:a person you love in a romantic way
Now, I don’t know about you, but that does not satisfy me. They’ve clearly defined love as a feeling. But I would like to argue that love is not a feeling, but rather an action.
Let’s look at what God says love is. 1st Corinthians 13 is often called ‘The Love Chapter’, so I thought we might look at that first.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8King James Version (KJV)
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
There’s the Biblical definition. Let’s look at it a little bit closer, and break it down a little bit.
vs. 4 “Charity suffereth long, and is kind…” The word Charity in this passage is love. Love is long-suffering, and is kind.
“…charity envieth not…” Love does not envy.
“…charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up…” Love is not prideful. Love is humble.
vs. 5 “Doth not behave itself unseemly…” Love acts in standards of decency.
“…seeketh not her own…” Love is selfless, and thinks of others first.
“…is not easily provoked…” Love is slow to anger.
“…thinketh no evil…” Love does not think evil of others.
vs. 6 “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” Love is not happy when something bad happens, but rejoices in the truth.
vs. 7 “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
Love bears burdens, love believes in people and hopes the best in people, and edures until the end.
vs. 8 “Charity never faileth…” Love does not fail, or fall out.
As shown, love is not felt, but rather shown, and does. We are given the perfect example of love when we look at Jesus Christ.
Look at John 3:16, which is perhaps one of the most well-known verses in the Bible.
“For God so loved the world that He GAVE his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
You see how it says He loved, and so He gave. It doesn’t say He loved, and so He had butterflies in His stomach.
I see so many people, young and old, who confuse attraction, obsession or lust with love.
But there is a world of difference between those. Maybe the reason why so many marriages and relationships end in failure is because people have forgotten the true meaning of love. And when the initial attraction fizzles out, the “fall out of love”. But that’s simply not how real love works. Loving is making a choice to do something without thinking of ones self, or what we’ll get in return. It is not an emotion, even though sometimes when we love we have emotions.
Jesus demonstrated that perfectly. He came to live a life on earth so He could die so that we might have forgiveness, and reconciliation with Him in Heaven.
“Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friend.” (John 15:13)
That’s exactly what He did.
In conclusion, we are given an example of love. Now examine your heart, do you love like you’re supposed to? I think if you are completely honest, all of us can say we’ve come short of loving fully, without thinking of ourselves. I know I’ve fallen short of perfect love many times.
But with this example, we can strive to be more like Jesus, and love others every day the way God does for us. But remember, it’s only by God’s grace that we can do it.