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The Definition of Love

Read This: “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8

Think: How do you define love? Without relying on lyrics to a song or quotes from a movie, could you give a concise definition of love? Some people don’t even try, taking an I’ll-know-it-when-it-happens approach. Or a lot of people would say it’s that special feeling that another person gives you. And certainly all of us would agree, love feels good.

In reality though, true and lasting love is much less about what we’re getting and more about what we’re giving. Most of us are familiar with I Corinthians 13, which serves as the Biblical definition of love. “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (4-7).

God’s word teaches us that love goes beyond feelings which can come and go. Instead, God’s love is based on a steadfast attitude of servanthood and self-sacrifice for another person. It’s easy to love someone when everything is going right, when all your needs and wants are being met, and you feel good about yourself. But when you say you love someone, ask yourself, Am I patient with his/her short comings? Am I kind even when I’m tired, distracted, or hurt? Am I ever jealous of the good things this person has been given?

I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.” When we love our spouses, our friends, and our neighbors with God’s love they have no reason to fear hurt, rejection or abandonment. God’s love is secure, faithful, and everlasting—that is amazing love!

Ask: What does pop culture teach us about love through music, movies, and television? How does that impact relationships in our society? How well do you love others with God’s love?

Pray: In world with some pretty fleeting ideas of love, ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit so that in Him you can be an example of his redeeming love to those around you. Thank him for loving you perfectly.