What does the word love mean to you? Love is used to describe a wide variety of feelings. I love my dogs, I love to watch sport, and I love chocolate cake, but that very same word I also use to describe how I feel about my wife. I do not love my wife the same way I love my dogs, and I do not love my dogs the same way I love chocolate cake.
I cannot help but wonder whether we have lost the real meaning of the word love. So where do we find out what the real meaning of love is? Is it a matter that can be solved by scientists, or do we go to the philosophers? For many years they have searched for the answers and yet they cannot agree among themselves, there are many theories mankind has offered up, but somehow they all fall short of the truth. People have done heroic acts in the name of love and others kill and steal in the name of love.
When an appliance or a car does not work anymore, and you do not know where the problem lies, the best place to take it is to the manufacturer. Why? Because that is where it was made, and the manufacturer knows how every part is supposed to work? So if we are searching for answers regarding mankind we need to go to our manufacturer, our maker. So how do we do that? We go to His word, the Bible, which he gave us so that we may know more about how we were created to operate. Our manufacturer’s manual.
In the book of 1 John 4:8 (NKJV) the Bible says: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love”. If God is indeed love it explains why we do not know the real meaning of love anymore. How can we know love if we do not know God? Only as we return to God can we return to true love. What does this God-kind of love look like?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV) gives us a description of this Godly kind of love: ”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.”
The Bible sets us a high standard of love, try and live this way for just a day and you will see how difficult it is. How much of our love is selfish? I will love you only for as long as I get what I need out of the relationship. How often do we boast about ourselves and envy others, are we always patient with our loved ones? We all have to admit that we all fall short of this high standard every day of our lives. So what is the answer, where do we find this real love?
God, our manufacturer, made a way for us. He made the ultimate love sacrifice and gave us His only son so that real love in us may be restored. This son of God is Jesus Christ, who died on the cross that we may be restored back into a relationship with Him. If we want to experience real love and be able to love others according to God’s standard, the only way is through His son Jesus Christ. We have to believe in our heart that Jesus loves us and died for us, and then tell other people that we believe that. All that is left is to trust Him to work in our hearts, enabling us to receive God’s unconditional love and to love others according to God’s standard of love.
If you have done this, I encourage you to join a Bible based church where you can learn more about God’s love.