Love, without doubt, I believe is the most sang about subject worldwide. This points to how needy we are as humans, doesn't it? We want to be loved. We want to be appreciated. We want to have a sense of belonging. The loss of a love one shatters us. There is everything right with that. God made it so. That we love one another. We are not islands. We are interdependent on others to achieve a certain level of self-worth and self-acceptance. "Everyone needs somebody”—that is a very popular saying and it is true. No one is an island, we all need relationships and friendship to carry on in life. We are interconnected. We are to be each others keeper. We are to bear the burdens of one another. Acknowledging the place of love in our human interactions is a necessary ingredient for peaceful and harmonious living.
However, despite its universal acceptance, love can be abused when sought for in the wrong places. Human love has its limitations. It can and does fail based on how well we perform and how much we meet up to another person's standards. Human love can also be abused and used as a tool for manipulation. "If you love me...". That's a popular one we can all identify with. Isn't it? When we make imperfect human beings, the source from which we derive all of our emotional well being, then we are unhealthy, vulnerable and heading towards an emotional disaster.
What is love? Where do we take our cues of love from? From music? Soap Opera's? Novels? Love in its Greek origin carries a number of meanings. I will give a brief summary of these:
EROS: Intimate, sensual and erotic.
STORGE: Natural affection. This is usually love shared amongst family members.
PHILIA: Affection shared purely by friends and can generally be described as platonic.
AGAPE : Unconditional Love.
From the summary of what love is, we can see much of the emphasis on love from society through music, is sadly one sided; Eros, Romance, Feelings and the sensual. It is not uncommon to find gospel music mimicking the idea of Romantic love, reducing God's love to good feelings and sensations. With society's fixation on eros - erotic and sensual - God's perfect, unconditional love can easily be lost in our minds. In an age of feelings and sensations, we can easily confuse God's love with how good or bad we feel at a particular moment. In the process, we end up defining God's love by our feelings. But God's love is unconditional, it is perfect. God, the Bible tells us is love. God's love is not just a characteristics of who God is. God Himself is love. God's love is Agape love; selfless and unconditional. It is the highest form of love. Agape love is the kind of love God manifested towards us when Jesus left all of His glory, took upon Him the form of man and died a wretched sinner's life(though He was sinless) to reconcile humanity to God(Philippians 2:6-9, 2 Corinthians 5:21 ). It was love that sent Him to the cross.
Do you need love desperately? Where are you seeking for it? No human, no sexual experience, no entertainment, no drug, no alcoholic beverage, no emotional high, no peers or family can fully give you the love you need to feel wanted, loved and accepted. If you are a believer, you don't have to strive for acceptance, you are already accepted in Christ (Ephesians 1:6, Jeremiah 31:3, 2Thessalonians 2:16 , 1John 3:1 ). God's love is everlasting and nothing can separate us from that love(Romans 8:35 ). You can't do more or less to be loved by God. You are already loved. Is that a licence to live our lives anyhow? No. However, living on this side of eternity in a fallen human body, we will still battle with sin and if we ever lose a battle against sin, we must never despair that God will take His love away from us. Christ' propitiation for our sins is for all sins committed in the past, committed in the present and to be committed in the future. Though He calls us to holy living and holy we must live, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness(1John 1:8-9). We do sin and that is the reality of the fallen human condition. Though saved, we struggle in different areas with the sin problem and its resultant guilt. R.C. Sproul in his book, What Can I Do With My Guilt, wrote these profound words:
The simple truth is that if God forgives us, we are forgiven. That’s an objective state of affairs. Maybe our friends will not forgive us. Maybe our spouses will not forgive us. Maybe society will not forgive us. Maybe the government will not forgive us. But if God forgives us, we are forgiven. That doesn’t mean that we were never guilty. We cannot have forgiveness without real guilt. But forgiveness releases us from the punishment that we justly deserve because of our guilt. Through it, we can be restored to a healthy and loving relationship with God.1Now, if you are not a Christian the love of God will make no sense to you. You might end up searching for love in the wrong places. The vacuum and emptiness in your heart you seek to fill with other things can only be filled by God's love. That vacuum is just a symptom of a root problem of sin and separation from God. All humanity is condemned under sin(Romans 8:23 ) and until we bring the burden of our sins to Christ, we still stand guilty before God. Repent from your sins and surrender your life to Christ. Be reconciled to Himand let Him give you the love you so desire.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.(John 3:16
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10).Notes:
1: R.C. Sproul, What Can I Do With My Guilt, ©2011, Reformation Trust Publishing.