This morning in church, Pastor Steve spoke about love, and it has been resounding through me again and again. It got me thinking about the fact that love is something we are sorely lacking in our world today. We’ve become a society that doesn’t understand what real love is, believing instead in the lie that love is the same thing as lust and greed and selfishness.
Love isn’t about getting what we want; love is about sacrifice. It’s about selflessness, generosity, and truly caring about others with no expectation of anything in return. “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives [our treasures, those things we hold most dear] for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16, NLT [with my additions]). Instead of the world’s definition of love, where we care about someone mostly because they care for us in return or they can help us or they are attractive, God says that love is about putting others first without ever considering how it will affect us.
As the Beatles once sang, “All you need is love. Love is all you need.” According to the Bible, this is pretty accurate. Look at the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 13: “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would be only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NLT). You could be a huge success according to the world, but without love, it is all meaningless.
The Beatles spoke true: we do need love, but only if it is godly love. And how do we achieve that kind of love? According to the Apostle Paul, we study the Word, since, “The purpose of [his] instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith” (1 Timothy 1:5, NLT). The more we plant His Word deep in our hearts, the more we meditate on His Word, the more we come to know Him, the more we push out the worldly ways and mold ourselves into those who can love like Christ, those who can give love to others even knowing that we may never have anything in return.
If all the people in His Creation could learn to live like this, can you imagine the beauty and joy and peace and hope and, of course, love we would see every moment of every day? This is my prayer for you and for me: that we learn to love like Christ.