In this season of Valentine’s Day and showing love to others, it may be the most crucial time of all to discuss what God says about love.
The world has its own definitions of love. We love our family. We love cheesecake. We love our favorite jeans. We love nature. But the Bible makes it clear that love is not based on a feeling. The Bible tells us that love is a commitment. It is a conscious choice to put the needs of another person above yourself. When we do that, the act produces those good feelings that we often associate with love. Those feelings don’t last, however. They fade and change with time. It’s the commitment that is unchanging.
We are born with a deep desire to be loved. It’s a void within our soul that we can spend a lifetime desperately trying to fill with the things this world has to offer—popularity, money, possessions, a bigger house, a nicer car, more success. There’s only one thing that can fill every tiny space of that void, and that is God. Nothing else even comes close.
So what does God say love is? In 1 John 4:8, the apostle John tells us, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” That’s pretty straightforward. If we want to understand love, we need only look to God, for He is love. He doesn’t just feel love or express love; He is love.
Knowing this, we must then ask ourselves what it means to love. Jesus answered this when he gave us the great commandment in Matthew 22: 37–39:
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Jesus also tells us in John 13:34–35:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
Perhaps the verse that tells us most clearly how to love is 1 Corinthians 13:4–7:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
This type of love requires faith in God, the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and an understanding that without God, we cannot truly love others as God intended. Understanding love as defined in 1 Corinthians is possible only if we put our faith in God, who is love, and allow the Holy Spirit to bolster our commitment to loving others as God commands.
So on this Valentine’s Day, as you share with others how much you love them, take a moment to thank God for loving us like no other.
A big thank you to Michelle Wyatt of Life in the Nerddom for writing this guest post.