Several years ago, as I was sitting in my psychology class the teacher asked the universal question. Of course there are plenty of questions that could fall under that category. In this particular situation she stood in front of her desk, hands splayed out into the air, and said "What is love?" Scanning the classroom of about 30 people, she continued, "Do you know the answer? Speak up if you do?" A hushed tone fell across the group of young students and then she said in an overtly, self-assured voice, "No one knows what love really is. And we'll probably never know."
As a result of that blatantly false-and sad- statement, my hand catapulted into the air in the midst of the captive crowd of listeners. Once the teacher gave me permission to speak, the righteous indignation within me overruled my doubtful timidity. "Well I believe God is love. The Bible says He is. So if we know God then we know love. And He is the source of all real love we have in this world." I had no idea of what her response to my reply might be, but from the way her mouth dropped open and her eyes glared out through her glasses, it was obvious to all that she found my response distasteful.
Before she could counteract my claim a few students' voices rose up in agreement with my words. One particular girl, who sat across from me, nodded and said loudly, "Yes that is right. God is love." The teacher didn't agree. Shaking her head in disbelief, she declared, "No. Nobody knows what love is. It's just something we will probably never understand." Standing near the side of her desk, she stared down at me. As I froze in my seat, she spoke in a condescending tone, "But at least you talked a little. That's the first time you've participated or raised your hand in class." I just hope she finally found out the truth about love.
It's true that a vast number admit they don't know how to define love. Many people make up their own definitions. Yet others believe it is impossible to know the reality of love, which is similar to agnostics who believe we cannot know the reality of God. I read a story not long ago that talked about how frivolously we Americans use the word love. You know-like "I love those shoes!" or "I love Mexican food". I agree we use the word too much and often in frivolous ways. The 'agape' love is the kind that can only be experienced through God. For God is love.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.
He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. I John 4:7-9
Love can be felt but it is more than an emotion. It is a choice and an action. It will manifest itself. God so loved..that He gave.. Real love is giving of oneself often until it hurts. Because it is a sacrificial kind of love. Jesus shedding his pure blood and dying a cruel death on that cross is proof of unconditional, divine love. He died for all mankind; he died for all sinners. You and me- and even those we call our enemies-have been given the invitation for salvation and the promise of eternal life. In God's eternal kingdom we will share in an everlasting love.
What does love look like in a believer's life? According to I Corinthians 13, which uses the word 'charity', it's not about how much we may speak in tongues, or prophesy, or how much knowledge or faith we possess...or how much we sacrifice for the poor. The passage goes on to describe the character or attitude of love. It is longsuffering, and kind, and selfless, and not easily angered. Love has a pure mind and godly motives. It doesn't rejoice in sin but rejoices in truth.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Galatians 5:22
Love comes forth from the Spirit of God. Our flesh, or old nature, is unable to comprehend true love except by His Spirit. Humans- apart from the influence of Jesus Christ- are inherently selfish, greedy, and hateful. That's the reason we are told to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. We can love Him because He first loved us. (I John 3) Jesus loves us at our worst and at our best. He loves us when we're weak and when we're strong. He loves us enough to correct us and tell us the truth.
HIGH CALLING I HEAR A VOICE CALLING MY NAME SOMEHOW STRANGE, YET SO FAMILIAR IN THE SOUND OF IT I SENSE NO BLAME NO SWEETER VOICE THIS HEART HAS EVER HEARD PURE LOVE IS IN IT SPOKEN THIS HUNGRY SOUL FEEDING ON EVERY WORD TRUE LIFE IS THROUGH IT GIVEN O SOUL, TO BE SATISFIED YET BE STILL AND HEAR THE DIVINE VOICE SPEAK AT HIS WILL SO THIS EMPTY BEING JESUS' SPIRIT MAY FLOOD THAT ALL WHO PASS BY MAY SEE I'M COVERED IN HIS BLOOD AND HIS LOVE IS REFLECTED IN ME.
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Romans 5:5-9