What is love? That’s the most asked question on Google. What is love?
We’re desperately hungry for what remains elusive for so many. For example, some people call love unbridled acceptance that embodies a taste of agape love, but boils down to an unrestrained definition of the true character of love, because love requires boundaries.
For others, love amounts to little more than a momentary, fleeting feeling. It’s more infatuation or emotional high than solid, determined, dependable love.
We all know that love runs deeper. The love we hunger for must be embodied with something more than emotional reactions and unbridled acceptance.
“Beloved let us love one another for love is from God and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us that God sent His only Son into the world so that we might live through Him in this love not that we have loved God but that He has loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved if God so loved us we ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God but if we love one another God abides in us and His love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:7-12).
John is saying that love exists outside of us. That God, in His nature, is love. And for us to know love, we must receive it from God because He is love.
I grew up in a family that did not love each other well. In fact, I’d spent every other weekend with my biological dad, but wanted to know him better. At the age of 10, I pressured my mom to talk to him. The request came from a deep desire with for my dad’s love. Because of their horrible history, Mom initially resisted, but eventually gave in and agreed talked to him.
So when my biological dad dropped me off at home after spending a weekend together, Mom came out of the house for “the talk.” Dad remained in his truck while she leaned in, and a heated discussion ensued. I watched and listened intently. I’ll never forget that moment, hearing the argument as she encouraged my father to spend more time with me.
Then I heard my father say these scarring words, “I don’t want to spend more time with him. You spend more time with him.” Then my father drove away.
Crushing experience. At that young age, I longed to be loved, especially by my parents. After that incident and for the next 10 years, I searched for something that would fill the cavity left inside of me. And one day, I found it. But not after a long search and hitting bottom in my life.
When we’re loved by others because of God’s love, we understand the abstract concept of genuine love. My grandfather poured out that kind of pure love when I was in my teens and then at the age of 20, when after making all kinds of bad choices, I moved back in with him.
For the next three months I had conversations with my grandfather. Slowly, my system of belief about the world, myself, and God became rewired. After six months, I made the most important decision of my life, asking Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. That happened because I understood that the love my grandfather was extending was the same he received from Jesus Christ Himself.
We can’t see love directly, but like the wind, we know when we encounter it. Love requires action that creates impact. We see God’s love by the sending of His son, Jesus Christ, and by his death and resurrection that bring us into union and relationship with God Himself.
Genuine love is so rare that when it’s extended, it can change the course of someone’s life forever. Just think, if you became a vessel of love toward others who need to know Christ, what impact your love might have to change the world, one person at a time.