We all know what love is……when we see it. We know what love isn’t….when we don’t see it. We feel love. We crave love and we need love. We will do all sorts of things for love. We were designed by God, who is love, to seek out love. We were designed by love (God) to seek out that love from its original source (God). The problem is that we seek counterfeit love because we struggle with knowing what real love is. The only way that we will know what real, true love is to know our Heavenly Father because as we have seen in previous posts He IS love.
One problem with the English language is our definition of love. The English language only has one word for love…..yep, you know it…..love. The Greek language has several words for love and they define the different types of love. When I say I love my kids you know that I am talking about a very deep love that is unconditional and enduring. You also know that if I say that I love fishing I am talking about a different level and type of love than the love I have for my kids. The issue here would be context. The Greek language uses several different words for love so that you don’t have to use context to define the word usage, you actually get to use the word itself to define what you are trying to saying. For those of you that may not have much knowledge about the Bible, you may be wondering why I keep referring to the Greek language. The New Testament was written in Greek. As you are reading the Bible in its original Greek language you would see the different words of love and immediately get the concept of what the author was saying. When you read the Bible in English you will just see the word love and you would have to decipher the context of what type of love the author is meaning.
Thankfully, God gives us a great passage that defines what real, deep love is. Most people, Christian or not, have heard or read this passage from 1 Corinthians 13 and is known as the love chapter of the Bible. It’s read during a lot during weddings. It’s on plaques and shirts. Books have been written about it. It is the Greek word agape, which means unconditional love, that deep, enduring love. Let’s read it:
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
We can define the love of God by this biblical definition of love. Since God is love then we can replace the word love with God.
4 God is patient, God is kind and God is not jealous; God does not brag and God is not arrogant, 5 God does not act unbecomingly; God it does not seek His own, God is not provoked, God does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 God does not rejoice in unrighteousness, God rejoices with the truth; 7 God bears all things, God believes all things, God hopes all things, God endures all things. 8 God never fails.
This changes our perspective drastically if we will begin to believe these things about God. Some people don’t believe that God is patient or kind. Some struggle with believing that God doesn’t seek His own benefit. Do you really believe that God bears all things?
Since God wants us to relate to Him as a Father, let’s take it one step further by using the word Father in place of love.
4 Our Father is patient, Our Father is kind and Our Father is not jealous; Our Father does not brag and Our Father is not arrogant, 5 Our Father does not act unbecomingly; Our Father does not seek His own, Our Father is not provoked, Our Father does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 Our Father does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but Our Father rejoices with the truth; 7 Our Father bears all things, Our Father believes all things, Our Father hopes all things, Our Father endures all things. 8Our Father never fails.
Again, this changes our perspective drastically, if we will allow our minds to be stretched and realize that maybe, just maybe we have misunderstood God.
So, do you have trouble believing this definition of love, God or our Father? What part of this definition of love do you struggle with the most?