5 Things Love Is Not
"What you doing for Valentine's Day?" "You got a boo?" "Who are you talking to?" The answers you may have to these questions are "Nothing, No, and nobody." Now you're probably feeling empty, or alone, or thinking that you have to find yourself someone to fill up the void that was just created.
It's so funny how we allow the world to determine what love is and is not, instead of looking to the One who created, orchestrated, and demonstrated love to define it for us. And in that mindset of the world, we start to transform or recreate the pure, true form of love and make up all the things we think love should be. The world changes everything; the definition of marriage, of sin, and of love, but on the other side of that comes lust, emptiness, and immorality.
These are the 5 things that love is NOT.
1. Love is not a fairy tale
Oh, so you thought love really looked like the fairy tales we grew up watching? That it is as easy as "happily ever after?" We tend to think that after the curtain closes and the movie credits role, they went on to have babies and rule in the kingdom. Uhm, no.
Think of Cinderella for instance, her father died, she was abused and rejected by her step-mother and sisters, and was treated like a leper. Do you think that after getting with Prince Charming, all those issues of abandonment, loneliness, and rejection went away? That they both didn't have to deal with those issues and heal from them?
We sometimes think that a relationship or finding "true love" is the answer to our problems. Maybe if we just find a boyfriend or someone to love us, all our insecurities will fade away and we'll be living a new life. That's what the world tells you, but we know that no matter who you're with, they are not the answer to your problems. They most likely have problems of their own to deal with. Going into a relationship with the expectation that the person you're with will solve all your problems is toxic, unfair, and destructible. You need to allow yourself time with God to deal with your insecurities, your past, and your failures before you try and have a "fairy tale" ending.
2. Love is not envious or boastful
You know how in Romans, Paul stops in the middle of being Holy-Spirit inspired and says "This is not the Lord, but me speaking." I too think this is me speaking, but 1 Corinthians 13:4 actually speaks on it, so we'll see.
We love to use social media to boast about our lives/relationships: we tend to take ‘lit’ pictures with filters, crop the parts we don't like, and even make a caption to create a false sense of perfection, even if that picture was taken on the most annoying day of your life with your significant other. No matter what people say, it's a way people use to show the “best” sides of their so life in a way that is filled with pride and unacknowledged to God's work.
Sometimes it seems people don't have a conviction for the secrecy and sanctity of their relationships. Sometimes God calls us to be still about the things in our lives because there's a value in keeping things intimate and wants to ensure that its cultivated in protection, but when you put your every part life on Instagram for people to see, you're inviting people to have a say or an opinion about the things happening in your relationship. People will always have an opinion about what they think is the best for you, but many times it's coming from their own past hurt or experiences, not wisdom from God. When you give people permission to comment on the happenings of your relationship, at some point, you’ll stop being led by God’s opinion and begin to be led by man’s.
Essentially, if your relationship is flourishing, people around you will see the FRUITS of that. You shouldn’t feel the need to prove to the world that your relationship is founded in God, people in your community will see that in your daily lives, there's no need to boast about it.
And on the other side of that, is envy. The more you boast about how "perfect" of a couple you are, the more people will become envious because of that false portrayal of love you're displaying. You should really be asking yourself, "why do I feel the need to post so much about my relationship? Is it to glorify God, or us?" There are times when people share testimonies about their relationships that help people heal, but there is an distinction between glorifying the One who did it and the ones who were in it.
3. Love is not about how YOU are fulfilled
This is probably the most important thing to learn when it comes to love. There are two types of people in a relationship: a giver and a receiver. The first person gives much of themselves to you. When you are hurting, they comfort you. When you need something, they sacrifice for you. On the other side, you're the receiver. Always expecting to be filled up, always expecting to get what you need your own way, but you have no mind for the other person. Can I tell you two things?
1. You're selfish (it's okay, God can move)
2. There's deliverance.
Christ calls us to pick up our cross and DENY ourselves daily, that means on a daily basis He calls us to live and love not thinking about ourselves, but for others.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
God isn't saying that you can't have your needs met, but He is saying that your relationship is not all about you, taking and never giving. Your relationship should always point to the way Christ loved you: sacrificially. If you never love the one you're with the way Christ loved you, you're risking losing that person. Loving someone means that it's not always going to be easy, and fun, but it does mean that you begin to build your capacity to love the ones God has called you to how HE intended you to.
Which brings me to my next point...
4. Love is not temporary
The world makes getting together and breaking up look like the elimination rounds of Uno; first you’re in it and everything's good, then there's one wrong move and you are out of the game, but then there's a winner and you can jump right back in to start a new round. No, no, no.
Jesus has not called you to be going from person to person, relationship to relationship, creating soul ties and dealing with unhealed emotions and circumstances. Things in relationships get hard, and conflicts happen, but that doesn't mean every time something gets hard you should run away and not deal with what's happening. That's how roots of bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness form.
Did you know that God's plan for our relationship with Him was supposed to be eternal? His vision was that we would be in relationship with Him forever, but sin entered and broke that. He sent Jesus, who once again, brings us back into a relationship with God. He wants eternity with us, and He desires that you have that eternal mindsets with your relationships. Do you see how he pursues eternity with us? It's the same thing he wants for our relationships with our significant others.
If I were to say finding "the one" immediately happens, I would be lying, but that whole idea of "trial dating or serial dating" or that "let's take a break” (shout out to Ross and Rachel) is not God's vision of eternal relationships. His love is not stop and go, it's always chasing, always pursing, always seeking peace, and always with eternity in mind.
Arguments, conflict, disagreements and hardships will happen, but I urge you to push through those circumstances, instead of running away.
5. Love is not lust
“Love bears all things, believes in all things, hope all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
1 Corinthians 13:7-8
Love is trusting, it is vulnerability, it is sacrificial, it is an action of constant pursuit. It is God, and if you know Him, you know it is trusting, it is powerful, is it healing.
Lust can be everything opposite of love if not established in the proper context. Lust is defined as a strong desire, or a passionate longing, which can be a great thing if managed within the proper context, but I am talking the lust John talks about in 1 John 2:16:
“For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”
This is how the world replaces love with lust and generates an improper Godly perspective. It can be dangerous, temporal, damaging, selfish, self-seeking, self-motivating, uncontrollable, and unsatisfying. Whereas love is safe, eternal, full of life, unyielding, encouraging, disciplined and satisfying!
Love is the power of a King to come down and take a wife who has been unfaithful to Him and to clothe her in robes and jewels; making her worthy when she wasn't, clean when she was dirty, and righteous when she was unworthy. Do you see the power of love?
I can't even fathom thinking of anything to say towards lust because of its Spirit. Look through the Word you will see the deceitful power of lust and how it destroyed men and women that God made for love. David, Solomon, Abraham, the woman at the well, so many more stories. You need to know that when think of love and the commitment that comes, it is a different feeling, it's an eternal, sacrificial, grace-filled action of pursuit.
You know the difference, so stop saying you "love someone" when you really "lust them." There are only two options of how your feelings will manifest with a significant other, and you need to test every spirit and every action to ensure that your actions and intentions are coming from a place of love (Holy Spirit inspired) and not a place of temporary satisfaction.
In all this, I pray you've seen what love is by seeing what it's not. Do not let the world define how you see, understand, and pursue love. If you want to do it correctly, you can only look to the One who demonstrates love every moment since He sent His Son to love you. You will only know how to truly understand love when you encounter the One who created it and that experience will drive everything you do and see. Don't let the world define the most precious thing to God for you, look to Him.