What is this thing called love and where can I get me some?
Is it an idea? A feeling? A state of being? And if you can fall in it, can you fall out of it?
Most of what we believe or know about love is a paper maché we’ve pieced together from past experiences, movies, the media and social circles. And let’s not forget Disney, with its magic and princess happily-ever-afters.
But if we take a closer look at love, we may find our perspective has been skewed with a few lies along the way.
Lie #1: Love is something I must define for myself.
“Loveability starts with looking at yourself and finding love there…[if you] get clear on your own definition, the universe gives you what you’re looking for…”
Or so today’s theory goes.
But if we all look into ourselves to find and define love, then love is subjective. It’s purely based on your own personal feelings, opinions, likes and dislikes. Love would constantly ebb and flow based on your mood, wants, and needs of the day.
The truth is that love is mostly objective and found outside yourself. You will not find some deep, eternal well of endless love within you that you never knew existed. Love is a timeless concept that existed long before you and will continue long after you are gone.
The good news is that love has already been defined for you. You don’t have to go through the hard work of trying to figure it out or harness some inner power so that you feel better.
Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God…Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love…And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:7-10, NLT
God is love. He both defines love and fulfills it with Himself. He created the desire and need for love within our hearts so that we would look to Him to fill it. Because God is the author of love, He is the only one who can love us perfectly.
What is the definition of true love? It’s the very character of God:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up. Love never loses faith. Love is always hopeful. Love endures through every circumstance. 1 Cor 13:4-7, NLT
Lie #2: Love is a feeling.
Feelings are fleeting. If love is mostly a feeling, then it can also fade.
Statements like “I just don’t love him anymore” or “I’m not in love like I used to be” have become popular reasons for getting divorced, but they’re based on feelings. Basing the health and status of your relationship on emotions will result in inconsistency as well as constant disappointment.
The truth is that love is a choice. It’s a decision we make every day. Marriage is a commitment to love that person regardless of how you feel day in and day out. When you love with your actions first, your feelings will fall in line. You’d be surprised how “in love” you would feel if you decided on a regular basis to bless and show love to your spouse.
Praise the Lord! He is good. His love never fails. Psalm 136:1
God doesn’t base His love on feelings. Thank goodness! We don’t have to worry whether or not He will love us today based on what kind of “mood” He is in. God chooses to love us continually and faithfully regardless of circumstance or our behavior.
Lie #3: Love is something I deserve.
Everybody deserves love, right? Actually, no. Let me explain.
Correction: Everyone needs love. Because we are made in the image of God, every person has value and should be treated with respect.
But we’re not entitled to love. By its very definition, to deserve love means you must show qualities that prove you are worthy of it. And if love is based on your merit, then it’s just as easily lost with one mistake. And nobody wants that kind of fickle love.
The truth is that love is undeserved and unconditional. No strings attached. And since love isn’t based on whether or not you’re good enough, the pressure is off!
Undeserved love doesn’t bring shame, it creates humility and gratitude. It means you can completely mess up, fail, and be insecure and still be fully loved. When we don’t deserve it and still receive it, that’s what makes love so great!
This is the kind of love God has for us.
Romans 5:8 says, “[At the right time, Christ died for us]. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready…But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him” (the Message).
God didn’t wait for us to get our act together first. He took the initiative and loved us before we were ever worthy or good enough to deserve it. And He continues to love us in spite of ourselves and our shortcomings.
Lie #4: Love is something I can earn.
When we were children, we were trained that obedience is rewarded. This method is meant to establish morality, responsibility and self-control until we have reached maturity. Sadly, many of us still continue to operate by this system as adults.
Good work is rewarded. Mistakes are rebuked. Failure deserves punishment.
Over time, the lines get blurred. We start believing that the good (or bad) things we experience in life and receive from others are the result of our own works. That if we want kindness, affection, and affirmation from others, we must first earn it.
The truth is that love is a free gift. It’s given, not earned. The one who gives love chooses to do so out of his own free will, not as payment for another’s good deeds.
But love is costly. It does demand payment, not from the receiver, but from the giver. Loving someone will require you to give up something of value; your time, attention, energy, money, forgiveness, or perhaps even your own life. True love is freely choosing to benefit the receiver at a cost to yourself with no strings attached.
This is how God loves us.
He generously and freely gave at a high cost to Himself, regardless of our response or reciprocation.
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. John 3:16, NLT
God loved us by sacrificing His own life in order to save us from our own self-destruction. He generously gave what was costly – Jesus – to us who didn’t deserve or earn it. And He continues to freely pour out his love for anyone who will accept it, to our benefit and blessing.
What is this thing called love and where can I find it?
God is love. He is our True Love, the One we are really searching for. His love is perfect, faithful, and forever. He will never reject, disappoint, or abandon us.
May we look to the Author of redeeming love to satisfy our hearts and restore our understanding of the true meaning of love.
*quote taken from Huffington Post, “Do You Believe in Love” and Robert Holden, “Why Looking for Love Doesn’t Work”. Both articles clearly reveal our culture’s lies about love. I personally do not recommend reading these articles if you are searching for the truth about love.