Answer me this, what holiday comes to mind when I say, “love”? Is it the one with red and pink candy hearts?
It was for me when I asked myself this question and to make sure I wasn’t crazy I asked Charlie the same question. His answer might as well been spelled out in red rose petals. Now this, this really breaks my heart. When we think of the word love we think of cheap chocolate, overpriced roses, and the color red.
After my disappointing first answer I asked myself again, and this time I came up with a better answer, Christmas. Then I thought a little deeper and with a heavy heart I said, “Easter…absolutely, 100% EASTER EASTER EASTER.” But why was that not my immediate answer? The only thing that Valentines Day and Easter have in common is the color red. On Valentines Day the color red is concocted from artificial food coloring. However, on Easter we celebrate how our Lord and Savior shed his red, organic, human blood and then three days later rose from the grave! (AMEN)
And I am again, ashamed of my pathetic initial response. My response is a prime example of why love is misused and abused. There are two reasons as to why love takes some punches. One: People have no idea what love really is, which in turn leads to: people have no idea who Jesus is. Two: People have grown to obsess over the world and become infatuated with the people in it. Actually I am incorrect. There is only one true reason why the word love is over said and it is simply because we do not understand/forget who Jesus is and what he has done. Infatuation is only a byproduct of reason one.
So, what is it? What is love?
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
1 John 4:8
Plain and simple people, God is love. John the evangelist tells us right there. Ok cool, but why is God love and how do we know?
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 and sisters.
1 John 3:16
Wow…okay…well thank you John for answering my question, but I got another one. How does this love work, like what are the characteristics of true love?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where is knowledge, it will pass away.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
“Uh Syd…that’s hard," you say. Yes, you are so right. I read that and go, “love like that is impossible.” I’ve fallen victim to each one of those characteristics time and time again. Jesus is the only person who can do this 100% of the time. We are sinful humans, there is no way we can be perfect in love, if we were then we wouldn’t need God. Trust me friends, we need God…desperately.
How is your pursuit of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8? Are you tapping your foot and giving dirty looks to the woman in front of you at the grocery store? You remember that little argument you and your boyfriend had, you still mad about that? Are you scrolling through social media wishing you had this and that from others? If you’re me…you’d respond: GUILTY.
Love is hard. It’s no rom com (romantic comedy) that plays on TV. Love is dirty and messy and powerful.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 covers over a multitude of sins. Y’all…that is like the best insurance anyone could ever have and guess what? IT’S FREE; the cost of constant pursuit is priceless when the prize is true, Jesus rooted love.
“Okay, but I’m a patient person. I don’t anger easily. I’m pretty humble, so I don’t need God to love, right?” FALSE buddy, you could not be more wrong.
Dear friends, let us love one another, from love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7
John said it, “you must know God… you must be born of God to love.”
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money (the world).
Let’s do some math:
God=Love Evil= -love Evil= – of God
If God is love and evil is the absence of love then evil equals the absence of God.
Hold onto those words because evil flashes on our TVs every day. Evil walks into our place of work every day. Evil knocks on your front door every day. Evil is lurking. And do not mix up my words. Evil is the absence of our God it is not Gods absence. Do you understand that? Let me clear it up. Evil doesn’t happen because God said, “I give up…let evil win.” Evil happens because WE say, “I give up…let evil win.” My friends, Jesus has conquered evil, we know the end of the story…Jesus wins! The real question is do you want to be in his army of angels or is the world winning you over. We live in an evil world and the only solution to fixing our broken world is Jesus.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:18-19
We can only love because he loved us first. And even though we fall into the temptations and sins of this evil world…he continues to love us. I pray we pursue this love. If we all knew Jesus and pursued this love our temporary world would become much more beautiful.