We live in a love-saturated culture. It seems that most of the popular songs out there (actually, most of the songs throughout the history of the world) have been about love. Many of these songs even have “love” in the title. Do you know these? Can you name them from some of their lyrics?
Bittersweet memories that is all I’m taking with me. So good-bye, please don’t cry. We both know I’m not what you – you need…
Every night I’m lyin’ in bed holdin’ you close in my dreams, thinkin’ about all the things that we said and comin’ apart at the seams…
Shot through the heart and you’re to blame…
You don’t need money, don’t take fame – Don’t need no credit card to ride this train. It’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes but it might just save your life…
The truth is that we often have the wrong perspective when it comes to how we understand “love” – we think about it as a “what you do for me” kind of emotion. It’s not about the other person but really only about how you make me feel. The problem is that these emotional connections only make it too easy to move on. “I don’t feel love for you so I’m gonna walk away.”
But real love doesn’t move on in difficult moments – it holds on and fights for the “other”
Paul’s perspective on love in 1 Corinthians 13 is famous (and probably overused come wedding season) but there’s something to it. So I’m going to talk about it again. I want you to notice the type of words he uses to describe love.
Love is patient (it performs the positive act of waiting)
Love is kind (it responds to others with a tender heart)
Love does not envy (there are no intense negative feelings over another’s success)
Love is not boastful (not a pompous windbag)
Love is not conceited (not puffed up, puffing up the self puts others down)
Love does not act improperly (it does not do stuff to shame others)
Love is not selfish (doesn’t seek personal advantage over the “other”)
Love is not provoked (doesn’t get caught up or riled up, not irritable)
Love does not keep a record of wrongs (don’t get historical)
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth (it treats others fairly)
Love bears all things (it protects and covers up what is displeasing in others)
Love believes all things, hopes all things (it trusts in God’s care and protection)
Love endures all things (love doesn’t bail out when times get tough)
Love never ends (despite trouble, hardship, or affliction, love perseveres)
Did you notice the type of words Paul uses? He uses verbs, not adjectives – love is something to be done. This is the main point of John 3:16 ~
This is how God loved the world – that He gave is one of kind son…
This verse is not about the amount of love God has but how God shows love – through action!
Love isn’t about feeling warm fuzzies towards others. It’s about behavior. God loves us through His actions. He cares, so He acts accordingly. Christ coming to the world is the greatest act of love because it is putting our needs as His priority.
The flip-side to this divine display of love is that we are commanded to pick up and carry on this definition of love! We have the opportunity to create God’s kingdom on earth, and it all starts with love – how we treat and prioritize others.
Not to be trite and cliché, but what the world needs now is love. Not a schmaltzy, Coca-Cola version but a godly, biblical version of love as concrete behavior that puts others first and puts ourselves second.
Talk it out: Have you been on the receiving end of phony love? How have you seen the real deal?