Love! Everyone’s favorite topic. For over 30 years, as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, I have had hundreds of conversations with young couples and families about love. Most often the questions are not “what is love”, but instead…
- How can I make my spouse fall (more) in love with me?
- How can I make my child love their siblings?
- How can we, as parents, help our children love Jesus?
Where do we find the answers to these questions? First, let’s realize that what we know about love and how to motivate others toward it is new. There have been all sorts of ideas and advice through the years. In 1946, soul singer, Deon Jackson, recorded a song entitled, “Love Makes The World Go Round” (he also made a black-and-white music video of it, one of the first). Before that, songs by such bards as Shakespeare in 1559 in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act 1, Scene 2) told us what to expect when it comes to love, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
Volumes are written on love but none truer than that written by Jesus’ best friend, the apostle John. In 1 John 4, John both contrasts and explains the relationship between God’s love and ours. It is key to know and embrace these truths about love so that we are thinking biblically. If we do not pursue a right thinking about love, we will end up understanding love through the lens of a Hollywood Screenwriter and, if you have watched a fair number of Hollywood love stories, you know not to expect any kind of a realistic happy ending.
POINT ONE – IT’S A NO BRAINER: BELIEVERS ARE EXPECTED TO LOVE.
- 1 John 4:7 – Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
- Can you imagine a fire without light? Without heat? NO – why? Because once you start a fire, fire comes with light and heat – you can NOT separate them. Same thing with love. Once God’s Spirit resides in us, we will love. We won’t be able to help ourselves.
APPLICATION: Do you not love from your heart and deed the way scripture describes? Then you have a heart problem with God, not those around you.
POINT TWO – IT’S NOT ABOUT US: LOVE SACRIFICES FOR OTHERS FIRST
- 1 John 4:10 – This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
- God’s love thinks of others and gives until it hurts. God gave what was required no matter the cost. God’s love is in us? We will be other-centered givers until it hurts. End of story.
APPLICATION: Do you get tired of giving and watching your mouth so you don’t hurt others you love? Do you say what you want to say because you think your truth is more important than their feelings? The love you have is more a self-love than true love. Say “I’m sorry” to God and others and then live a changed person by following God’s example of true love.
POINT THREE – IT DOESN’T INCLUDE FEAR: LOVE PRODUCES TRUST NOT TERROR
- 1 John 4: 17-18 – This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
- While loving someone can hurt as we work out disagreements, love does not produce fear of rejection and retaliation from the other. Relationships that are truly loving allow for authenticity in communication and vulnerability emotionally.
Check-Up! How are you doing knowing and living out the 3 points? Talk honestly about it within your family. Celebrate God’s great love for us that resides within us because we are His. Don’t just read the above – do a heart check within yourself and your family.
Dear Reader, a Christian Disciple loves! And if we are growing our children in Christ, we must make LOVE a priority. We must model love and ensure that our obedience to God is because we love Him; obeying God is not because we “have to”, but because we “want to”.
Blessings to you, friends. May the Love of God bless you richly. Fondly – Elizabeth