Friday, April 24, 2015

What is love?

God is love (1 John 4:8). So love is knowing God. Love is a spiritual concept we can continually move closer to but because it is spiritual, we have really limiting ideas of what it really encompasses. Being bilingual I now realize that the English language really limits the concept of love. Most languages have multiple words for love because it is so difficult to capture its true expression in one word. It's like trying to sum up God in one word. The Greeks had 6 words for love and I know at least 3 of them are used in the scriptures. You see, as you read your Bible in English, you read love, love, and love; but in the Greek it might be eros, agape, and philia with a big difference in meaning. 

The Scriptures do set examples for us of what love should look like so that we might know it. Like John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  And we know from Paul and his letter to the Corinthians, or 1 John 3, that love is a verb, love requires action, love sacrifices, and love prefers others. “How do we know what love is?

 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

Love is primarily giving, not receiving. Love is in uniting. The opposite of love is separation and selfishness. When sin first entered us Adam defends himself by blaming Eve, a selfish act of separation. Love is the ability to overcome separation – to find “at-one-(mo)ment”. Love is no longer being separated from the Creator but experiencing that through Jesus, “God reconciled everything to himself.” (Col. 1:20)