Love is a wonderful thing. So what is this wonderful thing called love? Ask a young lady who is in love for the first time and then ask a young man the same question. Do you think you would get the same answer from both? Have you ever asked anyone what is love? If you have, you probably have received a wide range of answers. Think about it. What is your answer? What do you mean when you tell someone “I love you?”
People say they love things all the time. I love my dog, I love ice cream, I love my job, and I love summer weather. I love swimming, I love my new bathing suit, and I love driving my new car to the beach. Is love always being happy and getting what you want? Does love always feel good? Is love always easy? Is love a feeling or an emotion? When we say we love some thing or some one, what does that mean? What is love?
If you ask a group of young people what they love, you get a wide range of answers. They love staying up late, sleeping in late, having no homework, having freedom; they love their boy friend or girl friend, they love when they are with their friends, they love wearing nice clothes, and they love good music and having fun. Then ask them what is love. You probably will get a puzzling stare from them all.
Ask a group of adults what they love, and listen to what you hear. They may say that they love their quiet time, vacations, their car or maybe their dog. Surely we would hear they love their spouse and children; maybe we’d be told they love money, their job or their home, or perhaps they love having freedom and playing golf. Then stop and ask them what is love? How do you define love? Some would say it is a wonderful feeling, having what you need and being able to be happy and be healthy. Love is having no worries and being comfortable and being able to do what I want with whom I want. Love is being successful and having plenty of resources to have fun. Love is being with someone with whom I like to be. Is this how you define love?
Lets see how the Webster’s New World Dictionary defines love. “Love: To be fond of or desire; a deep and tender feeling of affection for an attachment or devotion to another; an expression of affection, a feeling of good will and brotherhood toward other people, a strong, usually passionate, affection of one person to another, based in part on sexual attraction, to delight and take pleasure in, and/or to gain benefit from; to feel the emotion of pleasure without payment.” According to Webster, love is a feeling. It is pleasure, affection and passion. It is the feeling of delight and benefit without a price. Is this how you would define love?
The above is the typical secular way of defining love. It is center on self and on one’s own desires, pleasures, and feelings. Our media, theater, publications, television, advertisement, and communications all transmit this definition daily to us defining love as centered on self, feelings, affections and sexual pleasure. This is why when we ask people what they love and what is love we get a wide range of answers that are secular in nature and not spiritual.
One thing that needs to be made very clear at this juncture, love is not a feeling and it is not about self!
How important is love? As written by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3, “If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but did not love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but did not love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrifice my body, I could boast about it, but if I did not love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.” Then in verse 13 it is declared, “There are three things that will endure – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love.” That tells us that love is very important. To love each other is one of Jesus Christ’ commands. So what is love?
Again referencing 1 Corinthians 13, now verses 4 –7 we read, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.