I have been searching for the answer to this question most of my life, but do we understand what the word “love” really means? Oh sure, we can go to Webster’s or Merriam’s dictionaries and get the canned definition, but what does it mean? Is it the “intense feeling of deep affection” we find in our children? Maybe it’s “a great interest and pleasure in something – like ‘he loves football’.” Perhaps it’s the meaning we (and the world) put so much importance on, “to feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.” The more I consider the word, the more I realize how overused it is. I love the smell of baking bread. I love my home. I love my toys. I love my school. I love everyone in the world. We love all of the temporal things in life, but where does that leave us in regard to family, friends, and our mates? Is our love for people as shallow as all that? More and more, love seems to have become a synonym for lust and greediness. Is our mate the right one, or is he or she the one right now? Why do we have such a difficult time choosing the people we love? I found the following very insightful:
Fear, pride, and lust are the root of many problems that crop up in relationships. None of these drivers aim at love.
Fear closes off and withdraws, but love opens up and gives freely. Pride will not tolerate the risk of exposing one’s self to another, but love risks vulnerability for the sake of the other person. Lust tells the other person you only want the parts you can use, but love embraces the whole person—on his or her best days and worst. (Excerpt from the devotional Dating In The Modern Age, by Ben Stuart)
Fear, pride, and lust. I think Mr. Stuart nailed how so many of us look at love. Looking at my relationships, and considering how I view love, I find that using GOD’s definition of love is much more satisfying than mine.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. And now these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is Love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13 NIV
All my life, I’ve looked for and obsessively searched for “love” as defined by the world – possessive “love,” lustful “love,” a trophy kind of “love” that would take care of me and sacrifice for me. The kind of love that GOD offers, whereas the world only offers fear and pride and lust. I have finally “found” the LOVE that does take care of me and sacrificed all for me, the unimaginable, all-encompassing and completely fulfilling LOVE, the Love shown to us by the MESSIAH, JESUS CHRIST, SON of the LIVING GOD.
Have you found Him?