What is Love?
Love is work, or a working out, or a manifesting of benevolent intent and action, which is accompanied by a strong sense of care. Love manifests differently depending on the object of that love. One does not love their parents as they do their wife. One does not love their children as they do their co-workers. One does not love their brethren as they do their enemies… and yet, it is still classified as love. If one does love one group in mixed up fashion to another, it really isn’t love. Love is guided by, bounded by, the nature of the relationship, the intent of the relationship, and the uprightness of the relationship. As it will become clear, you are not loving someone when you are doing them harm. You are not loving someone when that relationship is contrary to God and nature. You are not loving someone when your expressions of love are tantamount to sin, immorality, and/or criminal activity. Love always seeks the highest good, and the greatest well-being, of the object of that love. Love always does right to the other; helps the other; nurtures the other. This is why God is love and we are not.
No mere mortal truly loves, or should I say, perfectly loves. We have “feelings” associated with love; “intents” regarding love; desires concerning love; and actions motivated by love… but true love really does no harm ever when it is unjust to do so. This is why we all fall so far short, and in falling short, people try to lessen it, cheapen it, to bring it down to their level — but love cannot be brought down low, we must be elevated to partake in aspects of it. You see, love is infinitely above all of us; it does not naturally originate or stem from us; but God (who is Love) is kind enough to give most all of us a rich taste of it, a rich working of it (to one degree or another). Most of us are enabled to love our parents, wives, children, friends, and (if God does that work in us) even our enemies. It’s humbling to even write this seeing that I often feel more disdain, contempt, and (dare I say) hatred, than love but, thankfully, God restrains the masses from acting on most of their negative feelings. The focus should be on loving, on feeling care and even affection for others, where appropriate (i.e. when the type of relationship at hand is suitable). We should strive to not just “feel” love but to “do” love; that is, to work it out in our lives. Why? Because when you get to the very essence of what love is, you see that…
Love Is: Manifested Obedience To God’s Declared Will and Word.
As proof of this, consider the following:
2 John 1:6a “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments.”
1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous.”
John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.:
Romans 13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended [condensed/summed up/summarized] in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.
Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled [carried into effect, brought into realisation] in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Matthew 22:37-40 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.“
Love is Giving…
Love Is Benevolent…
When we are truly manifesting love towards someone (whether it be our parents/spouses/children/other family members/class or workmates/friends/enemies/etc.), we are obeying God’s word concerning how we should interact with them, how we should treat them. Again, we do not treat our wives as we do the king; or our parents as we do our enemies; or our children as we do the stranger in the street. However, we are to show love to each, as God defines the nature of the manifestation of said love (again, each according to their respective roles). Feelings are vital, but so are hard work, obedience, & perseverance. Feelings may not always come into play. We may not have much affection for our enemies, especially those strongly persecuting or harassing us; however, we should care enough for them, loving them enough, to treat them as God declares we ought. Again, there is hypocrisy here; I daily, hourly, minutely fall short. This is why I am in constant need of the only True & Living God and Saviour – The Lord Jesus Christ.
You’re fooling yourself if you think that you can ever (1) truly (as in fully, perfectly) love or (2) manifest even a healthy taste or working of it here on this earth, consistently, apart from Him. Don’t get caught up in love as feelings; love as emotions; love as attraction, desire, passion, or longing only. Love truly is exhibiting benevolence, care, attraction, fondness, affection, adoration, intimacy, romance, and so on, in addition to actions that evidence and substantiate those feelings, actions that align with God’s instruction for us today, as found in His word (the Bible). Love always equates to doing right, doing good, doing what’s best for others. May we all have a greater taste of real love in all avenues and relationships in our lives… I need it and I think we all do.