“Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13
What is love, really?
Is love a feeling? an emotion? an experience?
Is love a thought? a conclusion? a point of view?
The apostle John summarized it this way,
“God is love” – 1 John 4
Love is life itself.
Love is the fabric and origin of reality.
Love is the presence of the creator in the created — the power of God made available to be shaped, directed, enlisted, and experienced by you and by me.
Love is not just a sensation. Love is not just attraction. Love is more than finding something appealing.
Love is the existential reality of creation embodied in the identity and the experience that defines who you are, what you are, and how you came to be.
Love is the blood running in your veins and every beat of your heart, the signals in your nervous system, the constitution of your cells, fibers, membranes, tissues, organs, and everything else all wrapped up into a single fact.
Love is every element of life, every aspect of the reality of your unique and particular connection with God.
Love is the soul, the definition, and the identity that you choose and shape and care for and experience.
Love is central to what makes you human and what differentiates you from other humans and from animals.
Love is specific, unique, and characteristic. And there is no one else who loves and embodies love just like you.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” – 1 Corinthians 13
The fact is, the generic use of the word “love” in today’s English does not come close to encapsulating even a fraction of what Jesus was driving at when He asked Peter,
“Do you love me?” – John 21
It’s not a matter of like or dislike. It’s a matter of choosing and defining for yourself a core set of values, a core meaning, identity, purpose, mission, calling, passion, plan, commitment, and drive from which every interaction, understanding, and action arises. It is the central characteristic and means to establish every relationship, every position, every belief, every message, every attitude, and every choice.
“But Steve, people love all kinds of things — good things, bad things, healthy things, dysfunctional things, things that lead to life, things that lead to death, the list goes on and on. People love such a huge variety of things, how can you say God is love?”
Notice, I didn’t say love is God.
Too many voices today are proposing that love, generically, is the answer. That love, in a general sense, conquers all. That love, in the abstract, is somehow available apart from God. As if, through some happenstance of fate, love as a concept provides peace, joy, fulfillment, satisfaction, and success.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” – John 14
He might as well have said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No once can discover actual, eternal, genuine love except through me.”
Maybe you are looking for another person to fulfill your every desire, meet your every need, and perfectly complement your every characteristic.
Maybe you have turned to drugs, alcohol, food, or some other material substance to find comfort, belonging, or a sense of identity.
Maybe you define yourself by your work, allowing your career to absorb everything and become everything to fill the gaps and give you meaning.
The fact is, no one can discover actual, eternal, genuine love except through Jesus Christ.
No matter your theology. No matter your world view. No matter your country of origin. No matter what you believe or where you find yourself today.
The reality is that true love — deep, wide, passionate, intimate, powerful, unique, specific, life giving, healthy, and lasting — true love, eternal love is available.
You were created to receive it, experience it, enjoy it, share it, embrace it, revel in it, use it, command it, define it, direct it, shape it, enlist it, manage it, and build upon it.
Love is more than lust, more than sex, more than attraction, more than hormones, pheromones, chemistry, or biology.
God’s love is life itself — truly, deeply, fully, eternally — life.
“God is love” – 1 John 4
When Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No once can come to the Father except through me.” He was saying that many people never discover the abundant life that God has in store for them. Many people never experience the purpose, the meaning, the intimacy, the connection, the confidence, the success, and the fulfillment of an actual relationship with God.
He wasn’t saying this to exclude anyone. Quite to the contrary. Jesus was opening the door, showing everyone where it was, and welcoming all to come in.
“Yes, I am the door. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” – John 10
So, if you find yourself on the outside looking in, feeling lost or alone, depressed or despairing, anxious or fearful, desperate or defeated, it is time to start looking for that door.
Don’t settle for a life without real, lasting, meaningful, passionate, fulfilling, purposeful, intimate, healthy, and eternal love. Don’t settle for a life without God.
Pray with me.
“Lord Jesus. I repent of my sins. I don’t want them anymore. I put down my baggage. I won’t let it define me anymore. I am looking for the door. I am looking for you. Come into my heart. Set me free. I make you my God and Savior. I make you my way, my truth, my life. I’m ready to experience true love. Amen”
If you prayed that prayer, I believe God just opened a door for you and you were born again. You just walked through the gates into the kingdom of heaven. Welcome! Now, get in a good, Bible-based church, and keep God first place because He is going to take you places beyond your biggest and best dreams and give you love — real, eternal love — real, eternal care, compassion, healing, and life above and beyond anything you have ever imagined.