What Makes Love “Love?”
By Renee Goble
“ If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:3-8 (ESV)
February, in my family, is a month filled with celebrations: my mother’s birthday, my parents’ anniversary, my aunts’ birthdays, Valentine’s Day… and let’s not forget the ever important President’s Day weekend! I love the month of February, but then again, I love a lot of things. I love chocolate, and Pooh Bear, and Europe, and vintage furniture and—you get the picture. In reality, I probably use the word “love” a little too liberally at times.
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and gush about the latest and greatest thing that I love but in the process of doing that, I end up making the word “love” cheap, which takes away the value of whatever it is I am admiring. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of Valentine’s Day (although I do appreciate flowers and chocolates) but the holiday does make me reconsider what love really looks like. Is love really having someone to take you out to a nice dinner once a year? Is love really a deep affection for somebody else? Is it more? Is it less? Is it real? What does it look like?
1 Corinthians 13 gives us a fabulous definition of what love is: Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud or rude… and the list goes on and on. Honestly, it puts me to shame. There are days when I think I’m doing a great job at all of this, and then I’ve ruined all my feeble attempts by the time the next day rolls around.
In 1 John 4:8 the Scriptures say that “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Think about that for a moment. That tiny word “is” changes everything about the way we should view love. Love isn’t just a characteristic of God; aka—God isn’t just “loving;” God IS love. God defines what love is and what love should look like. Just look at 1 Corinthians 13 and you can see that God’s character matches up with the characteristics that describe and define love. The entire Bible proclaims this and points to the amazing reality that God IS love and God IS just… God IS. And because God IS—we can BE. We don’t have to prove ourselves. We don’t have to try and convince the world that we are worthy of being loved, because our identity should be founded in God who IS love. And He has already called us worthy—He has already demonstrated and proven His great love for us. Think about that—He PROVED that He loves you!
Because of this, every day is an opportunity to fall deeper in love with who God is; every morning is an invitation to join an amazing adventure. In addition to all of this, every time you read the Scriptures, God is inviting you to join Him in an astounding love story—an unparalleled romance that reflects and reveals the deep, real, and intimate ways He thinks about you.
So the next time you find yourself thinking about love, or Valentine’s day, or maybe just wishing that someone would show up at your door with a fresh bouquet of roses—remember that God loves you and He is continuously showing you how deep and high and wide is His love for you. So bask in His presence and let Him restore your soul and show you what true love really looks like, so that you in turn can go out and love others the way He has loved you.