Have you ever wondered what LOVE really is?
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6
But, what is love? Have you ever wondered if your understanding of love is the right understanding? Most people are emphatic that they know what love is, but, if you ask them to define love, you will get either silence or lyrics from love songs. Whether you think you may be right or you feel you may not understand love at all, we all need to have a solid Biblical view of love before we can effectively proceed to engage in, or build on a good, loving, Christ-centered relationship. If not, we will just rely on our feelings, and what others and the media have to say. This will cause distortion in our thinking, creating disorientation and confusion that will adversely affect our ability to love, and even to discern who is right for our mate selection, or how we deal with our spouse. And, when we do get into a relationship, an unhealthy attitude of love will adversely affect our growth and ability to build that relationship. True love will be absent—in the giving or receiving of it!
When we are seeking, from friendships to romantic love and fullness, we will apply what we think love is, causing our relationships to be skewed. This will also flow to other areas of our thoughts and lives, causing further harm and confusion. We then pass all of this on to our progeny and others around us. This quest of love will eventually cross into theological love if we really desire to seek and apply what God has to say about it. But, we have to get this right, too. Many people have said, God Himself is pure love, to the point that all God is to them is love. They leave out the rest of His characteristics. Thus, love runs the full spectrum from romanticism and the quest for personal satisfaction, to God, and the meaning of life. When you have the wrong idea and definition of love, it will adversely impose on all those other areas in your life.
The other end of the quest for love is to ignore it, or use it wrongly. Not loving, or loving the wrong thing, will lead us far away from God’s truth and perfect plan for us. The wrong use of love can be sin. When we do something wrong against God, it not only affects us as an individual, but, it also affects everyone around us, such as our family, friends, and the rest of the body of Christ. Even God Himself, who is not affected by, but is hurt by our practice of sin, is included. God is Holy. His character and who He is remains un-affected. However, He is saddened that we choose to ignore Him and seek false truths and created things over the Creator. Sin is a disease that spreads and builds, one into another, just like cancer. It starts with a single cell that mutates, builds upon its self, then multiples and mutates further until it starts spreading into, and throughout the whole system. Malignancy occurs because the spread is not reversible, and soon affects the entire body. In the case of the Christian, false love and pride will affect the whole life of the person—not just the physical body, but also the body of Christ. What does sin affect? What does improper love do? The body of Christ, the people who claim Jesus as Lord, and those with whom we are in fellowship together, can be affected and even destroyed. Then, the Gospel and the Truth are muted! A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Love is a spiritual fruit that is built from real, godly character and commitment. It is the fiber of our moral center that stretches throughout our being, embracing and holding together our relationships when it is sealed as a choice and commitment, not just a feeling. Love will synergistically combine with the other characters of our Lord that flow from the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This fruit will promote our ability to relate and grow in all of our relationships, to better others as well as ourselves.
Building relationships is like sharing the Gospel; it is not about what you say, it is about who you are. It is letting people read you as a person, not just hear you. John 13:34-35; and 15:13-17 gives us a template on the importance and value of friendships. Jesus Himself gives it the greatest validation by calling us His friends! And, as we discussed before, friendship is operated on the principle of love. If you are not realizing it yet, all that we have talked about thus far converges here. This is where the rubber of character meets the road of life! Each aspect of love, character, and attitude combine to build us in His image. It is like the bricks, made of godly character, are laid by the mortar of the Spirit, and used to build His house and church of love. These characteristics are what makes us friendly, and how we are to be known—by what Christ does with us, and calls us to. Character indeed counts, and it is the loudest broadcaster of what we are! So, what is your character proclaiming of you?