I want to know what love is!  I really want to know!

What is love?

Can it be defined?

But not the way the world defines things.

The world defines love as a feeling, an emotion, a chemical reaction in our brains or a concept of relationship  (get websters, online dictionary and one other definition.)

These are weak definitions at best, and absolutely wrong at best.

1 Corinthians 13: 1 – 13 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I haveprophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith,so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, andif I deliver up my body to be burned,but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient andkind; lovedoes not envy or boast; itis not arrogantor rude. Itdoes not insist on its own way; itis not irritable or resentful; itdoes not rejoice at wrongdoing, butrejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  Forwe know in part and we prophesy in part, butwhen the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  Fornow we see in a mirror dimly, butthen face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even asI have been fully known.  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  ESV

The first few lines of this text help us understand how we misunderstand love.

  • Love is not what we say.

o   Saying you love someone is not enough

o   Saying you love is WAY overused and abused

  • You love your car, but in time you trade it in for a new vehicle
  • You love your hobby, but hobbies change
  • You love your job, until a new, better one comes along
  • Love is not what we know.  It is not our wisdom or what we think. 

o   If you only think you are in love then you probably are not.

  • Love is not what we believe.
  • Love is not giving gifts.
  • Love is not sacrifice.

 

These may be part of the results of love, but they are not love.

The next sections of text tell us more about what love is and is not in a real world.

  • Love is patient.

o   As a people, we have no patience.

o   We are a hurry up, foot tapping, red faced people

  • This is because we do not know what love is in a real world

o   We begin to anger and hate when anything or anyone deviated us from OUR plan and purpose

o   Traffic on the highway or the grocery checkout lines reveal how much we love.

  • “I HATE this traffic”
  • I HATE these lines!  Why is the checker so SLOW?
  • Love is Kind

o   I find that simple kindness is lacking in our world

  • I see people walk around an elderly person who has fallen down or needs help
  • I witnessed several videos of people WALKING AROUND people who had been struck by vehicles or are being harmed.
  • I hear the tears of people who knew a spouse or a child were being abused but said NOTHING and the worse happened.

o   Being kind means more than being polite.

  • Being kind sometimes mean stepping out of your schedule toi help someone.
    • Help someone reach an item on the top shelf
    • Stand up for someone being bullied
    • Share a smile, a hug or a dollar bill with someone in need
    • Hold a door open for someone else.
  • Love does not envy

o   “Why do THEY get a new car and I do not”

o   “Why did THAT PERSON get promoted over me?”

o   We think that someone has something we deserve

  • Love does not boast

o   This one is as hard to deal with as it is rampant in our society

  • That desire to tell a better story
  • The need to “one up” someone else

o   We want the glory to be pointed at us and are hurt when someone else shines

  • “They didn’t build that”
  • “Why should they get a medal/award/raise/bonus?”

o   We love to tell others how good of a job we did

o   We love to tell others how great our family/career/hobby/life is

o   We like to point out our triumphs and success; but we hide our failures

o   We are a boastful people

  • We forget that for every word that we build ourselves up with we are putting down someone else.
  • Love is not arrogant

o   You are not better than anyone else

o   We each have the potential to succeed

o   We each have the potential of great failure

  • Often we fail much before succeeding

o   Never look down on another person

  • Look for ways to build them up to where you are

o   Never try to pull someone down to your level

  • Look for ways to succeed and be raised to theirs
  • Love is not rude

o   Here we go

o   We have become a rude people

o   We think life is all about us and anyone who comes across our path is supposed to help us and heaven help them if they do not.

  • I recently witnessed a few people having a conversation and someone else barged into them, pushed some aside and began a new conversation with one of the group.

o   What ever happened to common courtesy?

o   What ever happened to politeness?

o   What happened to ‘please” and “thank you?”

o   We are bullies

o   We forget how to love in a real world

  • Love does not insist on its own way

o   Unfortunately, many are “my way or the highway” people

  • In our workplaces, our homes and our relationships

o   We are quick to dispose of people who fail to comply with our demands

o   We discard marriages simply because one did not do what the other demanded

o   We fire employees because they dared to say there might be a better way

o   We forget that we do not know everything

o   We forget that we are not perfect

o   We forget that other people may actually help us build a successful life for ourselves and our community

o   We forget how to love in a real world

  • Love is not irritable

o   Oh, how I wish God had left out the emotions of anger, frustration and annoyance.

o   Why are we so easily irritated by those we profess to love?

  • Maybe we are so irritated by our life elsewhere but feel we are unable to act on this irritation that we dump the whole load on those we think will take it and stay around?

o   Why are we so quick to anger at a driver who pulls in front of us?

  • So quick to label someone and “idiot” or “stupid”
    • Even though we do not know them or what is going on in their life
  • Why are we so quick to condemn and take so long in loving

o   We forget how to love in a real world

  • Love is not resentful

o   This is a real problem as well

o   Someone did something that hurt us and we hold on to it forever

  • Maybe they do not even realize what they did, and we certainly are not going to tell them
  • Maybe it was long ago and they have forgotten
    • Look for those heated conversations and burning looks at class reunions

o   We forget that we are the only ones being hurt by this resentment

  • Let it go!

o   People will make mistakes, they are fallible – LET THEM

  • If you have a problem go and talk to them
  • As much as you can, seek to build peace

o   Resentment is a poison that destroys

o   Resentment grows like a bacteria – a fungus

  • It will smother whoever it grows on
  • It will grow to hate
  • It will grow to violence
  • It will destroy relationships, families and futures

o   Love releases resentment

  • Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing

o   Sometimes we get to “ushy-gushy” and think we have to accept any and all bad behavior

o   No.  Love is not a doormat

o   Love confronts bad behavior for the purpose of correction and a renewed relationship

  • This may not always be possible, but it is to be attempted

o   One of the hardest realities for some to deal with is that peace sometimes requires war; not only war but an absolute victory and submission of defeat

  • Every place where countries/people have tried to find peace without a victory is still in conflict
    • North Korea
    • Vietnam
    • Iran
    • Middle East

o   These are but a few that tried to work a diplomatic peace but failed and conflict continues

o   Wrongdoing must be confronted and bad behavior stopped

  • Not just talked about
  • Love rejoices in truth

o   Yes, there is absolute truth and absolute false in this world

o   Yes, there are moral absolutes

o   Yes, there are physical absolutes

o   Yes, there are spiritual absolutes

o   Love searches for the TRUTH then rejoices in it!

  • Love bears all things

o   I think of all the nonsense my sweet life has had to bear in our marriage and I shudder at the depth of her love for me

  • I have never cheated on her
  • I have never used a single illegal drug during our marriage
  • I have never drank a single drop of alcohol during our marriage
  • I have never hit her
  • Yet, I am far from perfect and took a long time to figure out how to truly love in a marriage relationship

o   She bore my nonsense

  • My snoring
  • My arrogance
  • My hobbies
  • My desire to reach the top levels in local government no matter the cost
    • She Is truly more than I deserve

o   There is much we will need to bear/to tolerate/to put up with if we are to truly love in a real world

  • Love believes all things

o   Most will misinterpret this

o   Their spouse comes home with the reak of alcohol and cigarettes with disheveled clothing and says they were at Bible study with the guys all evening.

  • Some would say, “I must believe all things”
  • They would be foolish
  • That does not even make sense
  • That defeats the “Love rejoices in truth” text

o   Love has faith

o   Our love for Jesus Christ is the root of our faith

o   If our spouse is an alcoholic adulterer, you can have faith they will not change by your hand – they need God.

  • Love hopes all things
  • Hope is a powerful tool, when rightly applied

o   Many hope for what they cannot change

  • Hope without a pathway to fulfillment is hopeless
  • Hope requires God

o   The reality of understanding some of these will come towards the end of this document – I hope

  • Hope endures all things

o   Because I love someone I am willing to go to any length to help them

o   I will endure low finances if giving helps a needy person

o   I will endure a lack of sleep if giving my time serves someone in need

o   There is much we will endure to love people in a real world

  • Love NEVER ends

o   Here is a summary…or maybe a result of loving lie God would have us love

o   Love never ends

o   How many marriages or relationships have ended with the words “we just fell out of love” or “We stopped loving each other a long time ago?”

  • There was never real love to begin with
    • There may have been a great physical attraction

o   But lust is not love

  • There may have been a strong mutual attraction based on work, hobbies, situations or other issues

o   But magnetism is not love                             

  • Love never ends – it is forever

Can this be summed up somehow?

Love is COMMITMENT

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”  ESV

1 John 3:11-18 “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.  Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”  ESV

God is COMMITTED to you, and He committed His very best so you could have an eternal love relationship with Him.

Jesus is COMMITTED to you and willingly and joyfully gave up His very life so He could have an eternal love relationship with you.

Do we have any responsibilities in this Love Relationship?

YES!  LOVE and OBEY

John 14:13-17 “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.  “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”  ESV

Obey?  Obey what?

Read the Bible.

Explore the Ten Commandments

Or, keep it simple as Jesus did in Matthew 22:  LOVE

Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”  ESV

We often say things like “Love is the greatest” and we are correct!

1 Corinthians 13:13 “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” ESV

Oh, before I forget!  I said earlier that some of these things may not make any sense until later in this document.

Hopefully, now that you have read, and hopefully pondered the scriptures I have used here, you have begun to understand one simple truth:  WE CANNOT TRULY LOVE APART FROM A FAITH RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!

You see, no matter what the editors at Webster’s Dictionary, Dictionary.com or Wikipedia say, love is not just an emotion, a feeling or a chemical response.

Love is a person.

1 John 4:15-16 “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. Sowe have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.God is love, andwhoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” ESV

Real love is God. 

Know Him, Know Love.

No Him?  No Love.

God is Love.

Advertisements