Love

What does love mean? I am lost in a sea of ideas most of which end up suggesting that I benefit from love. I cannot argue against this idea. Whether I apply a worldly/cultural definition or a biblical one, love always benefits me. That being said, true love in its purest biblical form doesn’t set out to benefit the one who practices it. When one sets out to love like God loves, one must accept that the benefit comes from obedience to the calling of God to love one another. When we love like God does if we expect it to benefit us by making us feel good, we will soon become jaded and withdraw from this practice. Loving like God loves more often than not, hurts…

Love is a feeling that leads to an action…

…biblical love is an action that leads to a feeling. Love that fits the world’s way is born out of desire stoked by feelings, leading to actions that are designed to create more intense feelings and desires. Love practiced in the biblical way is an action taken out of a desire to see the other person’s situation bettered. The feelings created by this action can, when everything works out, lead to good feelings but this is not the goal. Biblical, godly love does not measure itself in feelings. The feelings created are just as likely to be hurt and rejection when one loves in the way God loves. We do not love to feel good but rather to obediently react to God’s call to point others toward Him…

…the Lord disciplines the one He loves…

…and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son…No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:6-11 (NIV). To love like God is to love like a parent loves. Just as a parent seeks to better the child, we must seek to better each other. It is tough to think of a grown person as a child you parent. I would suggest that treating them like a child is not going to help and is not the aim of the act of biblical love. It is sacrificial love, a love that does not act out of self-interest or a desire to be liked but rather this type of love will do anything to better the other person’s situation at any cost, that is godly love, just like a parent would or at least should love their own child…

In the church if we practiced this type of love…                                

…there is a good chance we would have less people attending, at least for a while. Just like our children, people will often react to love that is willing to address issues in a negative way. Should this cause us to stop? Maybe for a moment to make sure that it is their response not our behaviour that is wrong, but after that we must move forward. Like the parent/child relationship, it is not the immediate reaction that matters but the long term betterment that drives our desire to love. It is a challenge to love like God, to be hurt like God, to sacrifice like God; but the Christ follower and collective of Christ followers, like the one being loved, will gain more from this than from actions dictated by good feelings that only desire to create more good feelings…

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