The True Meaning of Love: The Greatest Gift of All
Sometimes we look for the source of love in places where it does not exist. Sometimes we don’t even realize that love is what we are searching for. The world’s view of love is measured conditionally by what the world can do for us. If it brings pleasure, it’s considered love. If it brings success, it’s considered love. If it brings happiness, it’s considered love. But what about the bad times? What happens when those things that once pleasured us or brought us success and happiness begin to bring us pain? Would we still consider it love?
One of the most contradictory statements I hear is “love is pain,” but that’s not true. We will go through pain, but it’s our circumstances that bring pain. The world brings pain. The devil surely brings pain. In reality, Love brings everything but pain and sorrow. Love should not make us fear (1 John 4:18). Love heals pain when life destroys the characteristics of love as seen in 1 Corinthians 13; our patience, our kindness toward each other, etc.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
1 John 4:18
So then, what is love? The only absolute definition I can think of is 1 John 4:8 “…God is love.” Love is knowing God and keeping His commandments. Love is a supernatural powerful and eternal mindset that can literally change the way we see and respond to things if we get it from the proper source—God. Love is a choice that we each individually need to make every moment of our lives in order to correctly confront the issues we face.
Why do we need love, the real kind? The two greatest commandments of all require us to love God and then to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). The only way we can love God is if we have a relationship with Him. The only way we can love our neighbors as ourselves is if we 1) actually love ourselves and 2) have a relationship with God to know what love is, because again, He is love. Love teaches us how to live the way God intended us to live. As the Son of the One who created love, Jesus embodied love when He chose to do His Father’s will. He showed His love for the Father by submitting and being obedient, even when He knew how much physical pain it would cause him.
The love of God bridges the gap of sin that separates us from the Creator. Without His love, we would have no sense of conviction, no understanding of the purpose of the Cross, and no real relationship with God. We would continue to toil to do good and follow the commandments the best way we know how, yet still fall short. That is not needed, because God’s love covers a multitude of sins. God’s love gives us a desire to please Him and be pleased with how He originally created us. Love is the best gift God can ever give us because of everything that He includes with it!
Love is more than just an emotion, it’s a virtue. Real love is not temporary and it’s not conditional. God’s love is bigger than us. His love does not always make sense. His love does not just disappear when we abandon Him or when we blame Him for what the devil has done in our lives. His character cannot be questioned because He is the same today, yesterday, and forever. Because of this, His love cannot increase or decrease based on what we do, it’s not performance based. All we have to do is know the real love that comes from Him. In life, we will face moments of pain, confusion, hurt, and many other emotions. Jesus went through pain in order to complete His will, but the love He had for the Father kept Him until the very end. Running to our temporary pleasures will only satisfy us for so long but the true source of love, which is God, keeps us until the very end.