what is it?
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
LOVE. My dictionary on my computer says that love is “an intense feeling of deep affection; a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone; a great interest and pleasure in something; affectionate greetings conveyed to someone on one’s behalf; a formula for ending an affectionate letter.” My thesaurus describes love with these words: deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment; devotion, adoration, doting, idolization, worship; passion, ardor, desire, lust, yearning, infatuation, besottedness.
I have a hard time picturing the love in these definitions in relation to the love mentioned in the scripture. Nowhere does it mention patient and kind. Our world’s definition of love is regarded as a feeling of romanticism. It’s short and intense. Not long-suffering, gracious, or all forgiving. It seems as dead in our world as something that is given and taken at will, an inanimate object.
The Word of God describes love as though it is alive, something breathing and tangible. Not a feeling or an emotion as it’s described in the definition above. The Word is approached as something precious and rare, yet always accessible. It makes me feel that it stands before me gentle and strong. It wraps you in a warm blanket on a cold day and yet it can be tossed out in that same cold and stand without a shiver in it’s marrow. It is described as if it’s all-knowing, all seeing, all encompassing. It seem bigger than us. Like it carries some secret knowledge that has been forgotten from generation to generation, only held by a select few who have developed knowledge and understanding, compassion and forgiveness at it’s deepest center.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” ~ 1 John 3:16
LOVE is LIFE. It is commitment and sacrifice. Love is covering. It takes on the personality of each individual and creates in them a place of peace and joy. It brings with it compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. It calms anger, and soothes frustration. It forgives and purposefully forgets. It doesn’t exist in us. It is it’s own entity. A decision to occupy.
“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all….”
~ 1 Thessalonians 3:12
It is given and taught by God. It is something that is able to increase or diminish. You can choose to feed it or let it starve. It can become a defining part of who you are or a terrible gaping hole of misfortune. If thought of as a feeling, instant and short, it will never be anything more than gratification with out sanctification, leaving you lost and hopeless because you settled for an imitation of what life should be. If humbled and chosen, love is able to set apart the earthly legalities binding us to this world and lift us to a place of comfort and peace, even in hurt and hostility. It covers us in protection and mercy. Love is a life well lived, a reflection of Jesus Christ. To truly now how strong and beautiful love is, is to choose it everyday. To focus on it every moment. To wrap every person in it as they walk by. Love is powered by one thing – Christ in us. Love can be so large and so mighty that it is impossible to hold onto if we do it in our own strength. But allowing Jesus to enter with in us and draw on it’s reigns, allows us an opportunity to develop hope and endurance of this race we run. What better calling do we have than to love one another and share truth in that love. Our days are not about objects and advancement, but about people and moments. What sense would it be to live if we had no one to live it with?
“Let brotherly love continue. – Let all that you do be done in love”
~ Hebrews 13:1 & 1 Corinthians 16:14 ~