Lately God has been speaking to me a lot about the whole idea of love. Now before you go all crazy no, i’m not “in love”. I am also not talking about your love for your puppy or for that delicious piece of chocolate. But what I am talking about is this; what does love actually look like? What is it actually? What does it involve? What does it mean.
I can’t help but think that our society has quite possibly demeened the meaning of the word love. We love our cappuccino’s, we love pizza and donuts and being skinny… You love your boyfriend but you also love your dog. Isn’t it amazing how we love so many things and we use the same word to describe all of them? I think maybe we use the word so much because we have so little of it and we have lost it’s meaning and the essence of what it truly is.
In John 15:13 Jesus reclaims love. How do we know what love is? This is how we know. Jesus Christ laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for another. We have confused love for lust. We say “I love you” when what we really mean is “I want you”. We have confused love because we have forgotten what love looks like. But this is what love looks like.
Love looks like sacrifice. Love makes us human again but it only does that because it demands ALL OF US. Every aspect of our being, every fiber of life. Love IS NOT casual. There is no love when there is no sacrifice. What if we only talked about love when it meant sacrifice? When it’s not about what I am going to get what I am going to give.
Jesus had one intention in this world and that was to love. Love is far more difficult to believe in than believing in God. It is so easy to believe in God and remain unchanged. But it is impossible to believe in love and not find yourself wounded and broken and confused. Jesus believed in love. In fact when his disciples came to him and asked what the greatest command was he said “to love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus believed in love, because he knew that love would restore our humanity. For Jesus love is the human standard. And he knew that we had moved into a humanity that was not reflective of who God created us to be. He was not simply romanticizing. But he went on to tell them that love would define them as his disciples. “ They will know you by your love” This seems so simple yet human history proves over and over that this is our most difficult endevor. We cannot find within us the capacity to love without condition. Love seems to be the highest of idols of which we cannot sustain, Even when we feel love deeply we lose love quickly. But Jesus knew that love restores our humanity.
We think that we can only love with just a fraction of ourselves. You are not in love until you have had to sacrifice for that person. Love is like a terminal disease. Because it will always lead to death because you will die to yourself and live for the other. When Jesus speaks of love and speaks of sacrifice he knows of what he speaks. And the strange thing is what we long for most we fight against the most, but we also cry out for the most. So why the cross? Why this barbaric sacrifice? God was willing to step into that violence so that we could have peace.
When you realize that everything God did it was done out of love. And the reality is that when you truly love someone it drives you to sacrifice for them . And whether we choose to believe and accept God or not it does not change the reality of what he has done for us. When we try to love without God it will leave us empty and wanting. When you try to commit yourself to love without God You will never be fufilled you will never be able to love people the way they need to be loved.
You wonder why there are billions of people on this planet we still fail to find love. Or you have love and than you lose love, love seems like a vapor. And you wonder if Love even exist at all. But when you realize that the sacrifice of Jesus is God’s declaration that he has loved you with an everlasting love everything changes. God has never changed. He has always pursued us and loves us with an everlasting love. Only love makes sense of life. Love explains everything. Have you ever realized that even when things are going right you still feel empty. Because if you have never known love you will never be able to make sense of love. God has never had any intention except for love. God’s one intention was to win you to his love. Love is what gives us life and Christ died out of love to give us life.