Summary: What is real love? We throw the word around all the time in connection to family and hamburgers. But what is love and what does it look like?
Love is a word that we throw around all over the place nowadays. In any given day you hear love used in a number of different contexts and in connection with a number of different things. In the morning before you head out the door for school one of your family members might shout out, “I love you,” just as you leave. As you get to school you might tell your boyfriend or girlfriend that you love them. Still even later, you might mention to a group of your friends that you love them.
After school, you head over to Dunkin Donuts and get a coffee, of which you exclaim that, “you love Dunkin Donuts’ coffee.” After that, you head to a friends house where you decide to play some Halo – “I love Halo,” you express. Or maybe, you decide to head to the mall and go to Hollister which is the store “you love the most” out of all the stores you could go to.
On top of all of that, when it comes to jumping into a relationship with Christ, we are told over and over again to love one another. In fact, when Jesus is asked by a group of religious leaders what the greatest commandment is, Jesus responds by saying it is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and then to love our neighbor.
That is a lot of contexts and usages of the word love that is thrown around throughout any given day. Every time we use or hear the word “love,” it can’t mean the same thing every time. I mean, you can’t love a hamburger and your family in the same way. Although, I suppose you could, but I can’t imagine your family would feel much love. So, what exactly is love? Let’s take a couple of minutes to share our thoughts about this thing called love.
***Let people share their thoughts on what love is***
This morning, I looked up the word love on dictionary.com and I found that there were 28 different definitions for the word love. So, I think it is safe to say that it is a hard word to define. What surprised me though were the first three definitions of love that were listed. They were:
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection.
3. sexual passion or desire.
For the most part, I don’t think many people would think twice about these definitions of love but personally, I think they are horrible definitions and don’t even come close to describing what love actually is. The first definition sounds very shallow to me, to leave love as being affection for someone. It is easy to care about someone of have affection for them else but I think it is a whole other issue to love someone. It goes so much deeper.
The second definition hits upon a giant pet peeve that I have. That is, to define love as a feeling. In the movies and on TV today love is so often described as this ooey-gooey feeling that gives you butterflies in your stomach and sends a chill up your spine. Guys, if you don’t hear another thing that I say tonight, please hear this - love is not a feeling. So many couples break up or get divorced simply based on the fact that the little feeling they once had is gone. That is not love – it is adrenaline and hormones, and maybe some indigestion, but it is not love. Love is not a feeling in the least little bit.
The third one is probably self explanatory. All of us in this room have some form of sexual desire because that is the way God has created our bodies. Whether it is a small glimmer as you are in the beginnings of puberty or whether it is raging within, just because you have those feelings doesn’t for a second mean that you love someone.
Love is also not guaranteed to be received in sex. I would argue, and the Bible would back me on this, that unless you are married, sex is no where near real love but instead selfishness or confused love. With the amount of consequences to sex outside of marriage – pregnancy, STD’s, and the emotional damage – to have sex outside of marriage is not loving the person you may be with but in fact the opposite.
So, what is real, authentic, deep love that we all crave to have in our lives? Let’s look at this passage from 1 John 3:16-19 which bluntly proclaims real love and what it looks like in our lives from God and how it should look as we love one another.