It has been sung about by popular music artists of all genres for many decades and I’m sure many more decades to come.
It has been endlessly written about by famous authors who with words attempt to depict its complex significance.
It is talked about by people on a regular basis as they attempt to understand its mystery and true meaning.
To many people love is just a feeling that comes and goes.
On a good day they might love someone a lot, on a bad day they might not.
Their love is based on how they are treated by the other person — and that can change on a daily basis.
Although I think dictionaries, books written by educated people, and screenplays may do a great job defining the term “love” I think someone else does a better job of defining the term.
The creator of love itself – GOD.
Recently I came across a quote that really made me think about the meaning of true love and I think it explains the concept wonderfully:
“True love is not shortness of breath, it is not the weakness in your knees, butterflies in your stomach, or endless series of daydreams. True love is sacrifice. God showed us a flawless example by sacrificing his Son on the cross only for our benefit”
Although this quote refers mostly to “romantic” love I think it gives a great example of what love is.
True love is sacrifice.
A word I do not think most people like too much.
What is sacrifice?
It is “to surrender or give up for the sake of something else”.
This is portrayed perfectly with the love that God has toward His bride.
He gave up His one and only son, Jesus, so that in return – a way could be made for His bride to join Him in heaven one day.
If there could be only one picture to describe the term love I don’t think the picture would be a groom and bride on their wedding day, and it wouldn’t be a picture of hearts and butterflies with two people riding off into the sunset together.
Although those pictures are nice I think only one picture could describe love best: a picture of Jesus hanging on a cross.
A picture that not all of us imagine when we think about love – but a picture that so beautifully and flawlessly illustrates God’s love toward us.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” – John 15:13
Love is when you put others first. NOT when you try to get something out of a relationship just for yourself.
I don’t think loving people is easy at all.
Feeling butterflies in your stomach and being excited about a person is great — while it lasts.
But once those feelings disappear how difficult will it be to truly love that person?
To put them first?
Do things that will only be of benefit to them?
I doubt it was easy for God to hand Jesus over to a sinful world so that he could die a cruel death for the sake of His great love for us.
And it won’t be easy for us to love Him and others the way He first loved us.
It will require us to be humble when all we want to do is focus on ourselves and our needs.
It will require us to be patient when all we want to do is give up and call it quits or do whatever it takes to hurry a process along.
It will require us to have self-control in our actions and our words.
It will require us to be kind and loving when we don’t feel like it.
It will require us to stay true to God’s Word despite how you feel at the moment.
Look at Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane.
He asked God to take the cup away from Him if possible so that He wouldn’t have to endure the torture and pain set before Him but in the end He surrendered to God’s Will.
He kept His promise to be the perfect sacrificial lamb slain for the sins of the world by going to the cross so that we would have freedom and hope of eternity with Him.
Not because of feelings but because of love.
How often do we do the same?
Love others not because we feel like it at the moment but because we choose to no matter what our feeling may be?
Put others needs before our own even when it means sacrificing something that means a lot to us.
For Jesus it was His very life.
For us it may be possessions, pride, money, plans, or time.
Our world paints a very superficial picture of love.
It shows a picture of love based on emotions, on selfish needs, on something that’s more about what you get out of a relationships than what you can give.
But Christ paints a completely different picture.
His love goes beyond feelings.
It goes beyond our own needs.
It is selfless, it is kind, and it is perfect.
It is a love that we should all try to replicate in our own daily lives.
With our families, our friends, our co-workers and even the strangers that we meet.
A while back a preacher was speaking about the famous definition of love written in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) and he challenged us to replace the word “love” with our name and then reflect upon how true the statement would be with our name included in it.
Because God is love and if we are to be like Him – we must love others like He does.
Here is the bible verse:
“Anna is patient, Anna is kind. Anna does not envy, she does not boast, she is not proud. Anna does not dishonor others, she is not self-seeking, she is not easily angered, she keeps no record of wrongs. Anna does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Anna always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
If I judge myself honestly I can say that I definitely don’t meet God’s standards of love towards others 100%.
I can be a little bit more patient, kind, and trusting in relationships I have with people.
I can be more forgiving toward those that hurt me and put others needs before my own.
I can learn to love a little bit more.
How about you?
If you replaced your name in that bible verse how true would it be for you?
Today, my challenge for you and I is to pray that God will show us the areas and the people in our life that we can be more loving to and that every day we will learn to love a little less like the world and a little more like Him.
Walk in love today and never forget that true love is more than just a feeling, it’s a sacrifice. Be blessed! Anna… ♥
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