Love Is….

Will Crawford —  February 16, 2011

Ahhh, here we are again in February, the month of Love.  I must admit I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day!  It probably has something to do with the fact that it feels to me like another commercially produced holiday that’s only interested in getting into my wallet. I think the other reason is because I have no idea why we are celebrating. I mean I understand Christmas, Easter, and even the Fourth of July.  But where does Valentine’s Day come from?  A few years ago I spent some time looking up the origin of Valentine’s Day. What I found was that there wasn’t any one agreed upon way that it came to be. It might even be a remembrance of a guy who performed marriages when marriages were outlawed and was beheaded. Maybe a holiday we don’t understand is really appropriate to celebrate an abstract term we also don’t seem to understand well.

Have you ever noticed how many songs are written that focus upon, try to define, or communicate something about love? Here a few of the things I have learned about love from songs: Love stinks, Love is what you want it to be, Love is hell unto the lonely, Love can be tainted, but all you need is Love, Love lifts us up were we belong because I was made for Lovin’ you baby…you would have thought that people had enough of silly Love songs!

Fortunately for us there is a much greater source where love is defined, found, and extended;  it reaches its ultimate expression in the person of the Godhead. Of course we learn this from the Bible. H.W. Hoehner wisely states: God does not need to attain nor attempt to maintain love; it is the very substance and nature of God. Therefore, in God’s actions we see love defined. Romans 5:8 states “But God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  True love and its affect upon our lives is also wonderfully defined in 1 John 4:7-21 (I encourage you to take the time to read it). In verse 10 it says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Now there is something you don’t often hear about love; true love is one-sided and not dependent upon the reaction or response of the one receiving it. Don’t get me wrong…anyone who has been loved into spiritual life, recognizes the gift they have received and is now free to extend this same love to others, in gratitude for what they have received.  But it is God’s love that causes such a reaction in us, His love is not dependent upon our reaction. That is Biblically defined love!

So you see when the world tries to define love, something it has spent ample amounts of time doing, it gives to those who will listen only a slight shadow of what love really is. It is like being trapped in darkness and expounding upon the greatness of the faint flicker of a candle but never experiencing the penetrating brightness of the sun. Mere human love, no matter how great the experience, pales in comparison to the life-altering experience of being loved unconditionally to life from a place of spiritual death.  God’s one sided love, extended to us, is a love we can never deserve or earn. Please don’t be fooled by cheap imitations.