The Love of God

18 Jan

I think it is safe to say that our society does not have a consensus on the meaning of love.

How often have you heard the phrase “falling in love”? You don’t typically “fall” on purpose, rather it kind of just happens to you; it’s beyond your control. And so whether we do this on purpose or not, using this phrase conveys a definition of love that implies love is a force or emotion that overtakes you. You don’t decide who you fall in love, when it will happen, and similarly you can’t necessarily explain why you have fallen out of love with someone.

Some define love as intensely liking something. I for one have told many people how much I loooove jelly beans. And I really love sleeping in. And I super love going on vacation. When something really appeals to us, makes us very happy and gives us a sense of deep satisfaction, we often say that we love it. If with time it loses its appeal (say, I begin to learn just how fattening jelly beans are), we may not feel like loving it anymore…it’s just not that satisfying any longer.

Googling the question “What is love?” will give you all kinds of interesting responses…not all of them completely irrelevant. I found phrases like “deep attachment” and “strong emotion”. One article suggested that love is merely a chemical reaction (how depressing!). But I was struck by a statement that said since every culture has a different definition or perception of love, it is very difficult to come up with a universal meaning of what true love really is.

Is that true? Is love something subjective, changing, dependent on culture to rightly define? Or is there truly an objective meaning, an absolute truth? Is there a perfect standard for what love truly is?

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13)

Two weeks back I wrote about the foundation, the load bearing walls of our lives. And I mentioned that I would be taking some time to reflect on how the only proper foundation for our lives is the Character of God – specifically I would look at His love, His wisdom and His sovereignty.

And so today I want to highlight some of the passages of scripture that tell about the love of God. I don’t think I could reword them or reflect on them in a way that would be more effective then to simply write them out. Read them over, read them slowly and carefully…and think about how this love, and only this love, could serve as a true anchor for our souls in times of need, turmoil and confusion.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:35, 38-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Galatians 2:20
 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Psalm 63:3
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.

1 John 3:1
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!

God Himself is love. Everything He does flows from the character of His love. Even His discipline, His correction, yes even our sufferings are rooted in His love towards His children. By His love He sacrificed Christ on our behalf. By His love He raised Him from the grave. By His love He continues to sustain us and provide for us. By His love He will return and call His children home.

Our temptation is to turn to the love of our family members to provide the ultimate support for our lives. Of course this love is important, even essential, in supporting us and bringing us comfort in trials and difficulties. But it cannot be my foundation, because like it or note, the love of others will eventually disappoint us. When I look at the love I provide for others, I’m embarrassed by how often my love has fallen short of what they may have needed. My love is often self seeking and emotional. I know that no matter how hard I try not to, I will (and probably have) disappointed others with the love I have shown. This is not because I don’t love them, but because my love is imperfect. No, the most loving thing I can do for my family and friends is to love them with my whole imperfect heart, and to point them to the wholly perfect heart and love of God.

Because God Himself is the very meaning and definition of love.

One Response to “The Love of God”

  1. Ee January 25, 2013 at 6:36 PM #

    Big Amen to it Dina. Just wonderful and so true.

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