It’s Valentine’s Day and thus the perfect day to speak about love. Love is far more than a card, a box of chocolate, a bouquet of flowers, or a romantic candlelight dinner. Real love is much deeper. It is the foundation of life.
In fact, Christians are commanded to love one another.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your should and with all your mind, and with all your strength…. Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greather than these. Mark 30, 31 (NIV)
By this all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another. John 13:35 (KJV).
So the real symbol of being a Christian is not wearing a cross or adorning bumper sticker of a fish on your car, but, rather or not, one demonstrates/extends love to all they meet.
Love has different meanings. We use the word “love” loosely. We says things like, “I love this car.” Or, “I love this pizza.” Other languages have different words to convey the different types of love.
The Greeks have at least six words for love: philia, storge, eros, Xenia, philautia, and agape. And if you watched Super Bowl 54 you learned of four of them from the New York Life commercial. Those four words were philia, storge, eros, and agape.
Agape is the deepest meaning of love and the one that the Bible refers to most. It is a sacrificial or altruistic form of love. It is more than saying “I love you.” It is putting the word love into action; in your words, in your thoughts, and in your deeds.
This type of love is more than a feeling. It is about being committed. It is about doing the right thing. It is choice. You can love anyone to choose to. And since you can choose, you can therefore practice being more loving to others.
Real love is an action. The best expression of love is the giving of your time – giving your focused attention to another person. Real love is putting the needs of others ahead of your needs. That means sacrifice. Real love is sacrifice.
Probably no better words have been written about love more eloquently, more completely, more powerfully, and more enduring than those of the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth. The following is from 1 Corinthians 13 the New International Version. In this chapter we learn what real love is, and what it is not.
If I speak in the tongues of men or angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and If I have faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
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.
Love never fails. But where there are prophesies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in the mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And, now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is is love.
Love is what God is all about and Jesus the example model of love. And, if you really understood how much He loves you, you could not not love Him back.
Show your love back to all others.