Monday, June 12, 2017

True Virtue: Love

“Hey, what’s so important? Whacha got that’s worth living for?
True love.
Did you hear that? You could not ask for a more noble cause than that.
Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the world…”

“And wove, twue wove, will follow you foweve.”
The idea of true love is rampant in our ideology. Every girl dreams of a fairytale romance where Prince Charming comes to her rescue and they live a life of bliss. But real life rarely (if ever) happens that way. Is the reason because she didn’t find the right person? Or is there another explanation?

I heard on the radio that “there is a reason fairytales end at marriage.” This implies that love, romance and bliss end when you say “I do.” Unfortunately, that seems to ring fairly true, but I don’t think that it has to (or should) be that way. I think the reason why we are disappointed with marriage, that it doesn’t seem to measure up to premarital bliss, is because we don’t understand the purpose of marriage and what true love really is.

1 John 4:10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

This is true love: sacrifice. We only know love because God loved us first. And that love is not based on emotions or feelings. It is based on devotion which results in action. We get those lovey feelings and assume that is love, so when those feelings fade we assume that love is gone. Often the feelings we have aren’t even associated with love, they are the result of infatuation which has no foundation. Infatuation is, by definition, an inspiration or possession of a foolish or unreasoning passion. We have to be careful that we aren’t being led astray by foolishness.

Aside from that, feeling love isn’t necessarily bad, but we cannot let that be our guide. Emotions are meant to be like cautionary road sings, giving us an idea of what is going on. But if we use them as our map or tour guide we will be horribly misled. Emotions fade, and they don’t always make sense. They are unreliable at best. Don’t ignore them completely, but don’t be led by them.

This does not mean that we should never have those lovey feelings or romance. Those are valuable in a relationship and we need to work hard to cultivate them. But our relationship should not rest on them. And if we are not truly loving our spouse we will not be able to maintain the emotions or romance that accompany it. We need to rely on the truth about love first.

John 15:13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Love is sacrifice. Love is respect. Love is putting the other person, their needs, desires and wishes, above our own. This is entirely counterintuitive to our modern society, which pushes “me first.” But our society is entirely unbiblical in respect to love. Love is not based on feelings and it is not limited to romance; love is an action that applies to every relationship.

If we want true love, if we want a godly marriage, if we want biblical relationships in general we must follow God’s design for them and reject the false ideology of society. We have to put off our pride and selfishness so that we can love as God does. It is not possible to love someone if we are prideful or putting ourselves first. We love the one we serve and put first, so if we serve and put ourselves first then we love ourselves which is the essence of selfishness. We cannot love others if we love ourselves.

Love is a fruit of the Spirit. It is not something that Satan can create or develop, only twist and distort. As such, it is not something that we can truly live in or give if we do not have a relationship with God. We can have it in some minor form because we are all made in God’s image, but true love is of God and we have to be growing in Him (growing in godliness) in order to grow in love. 1 Corinthians 13 discusses biblical love in depth and I would recommend reading that now to gain a truer understanding of love in action. (I also go more in depth on how to show love biblically in two previous posts: 1 and 2.)

Seek true, biblical love in every relationship, but first seek God. Ask Him to help you grow in His love and to love others as He does. If you do not have a relationship with God, will you consider that now? Follow this link to learn how.

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