I am firmly convinced that every human being has an unquenchable longing for love, and to love and be loved, because God is love (1 John 4:8). The love a person feels for another is just a minute shadow of God’s love for EVERYONE! Jesus Christ is the very definition of love itself and the empirical evidence that it truly exists. He is the embodiment of love and everything that He says or does is motivated by love.
God has given to human beings freely, and without limits, the desire and capacity for love, because they are created in His image (Gen 1:27). His love has no beginning or end, no depth or height, width or length that can be measured. It is knowable by human begins through Jesus Christ and it can be experienced because of Him. His love is spontaneous and transcends all limits of human emotions and understanding.
There are layers and layers of it that are forever expanding and can radically transform a person by the active working of Holy Spirit. It is one of those intangibles - something that cannot be completely or fully experienced by the five senses because it originates in the heart of God and never stops flowing.
Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places
Sadly, too many people have problems finding real love. It is only the love of God that can free a person from all the heartache and pain found in this life. Yet most look to created things to satisfy their deep seeded need for love and not directly to the author of love Himself. There is absolutely no way that any human being could ever completely satisfy another's built-in need for love.
IHere are some interesting, insightful, and notable quotes on the subject of love from a human perspective.
Love doesn't make the world go round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile. - Elizabeth Browning
We love because it's the only true adventure. - Nikki Giovanni
Someone once said that "Love is friendship set on fire." We're all a little weird, and life's a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love. - Dr. Seuss
Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness. - Oliver Wendell Holmes
Love stretches your heart and makes you big inside. - Margaret Walker
Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. - Mark Twain
To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven. - Karen Sunde
When a person falls in love the emotion can energize and invigorate. As shown in the quotes above there are depths to it that are unfathomable – even on a purely human level. However, and most importantly, genuine love that is empowered by God gives the human heart the ability to expand and experience deep intimacy beyond anything ever imagined.
It is only God’s love that can take a person into the deepest and innermost parts of the heart within the one they love. It is more than just a deep human affection. It is the kind of deep intimacy that can only be shared and experienced when the created enters into a love covenant with their Creator.
The more a person learns about God’s love - experientially, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually - the more they will be drawn to Him.
"We love Him, because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19 NIV)
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16 KJV)
The word “Love” in the English language is a verb that is defined as: to feel great affection for (someone): to feel love for (someone): to feel sexual or romantic love for (someone): to like or desire (something) very much: to take great pleasure in (something).
The Bible speaks of two types of love in the Greek language - "Agape" and "Phileo."
"Agape" has been defined as a self-sacrificial love committed to the highest good. It is a love that is not dependent on the emotions. Without this love no one could become reconciled to God. Through "Agape" love God set aside His wrath against mankind because of their sin and poured it out on Jesus Christ, the beloved Son.
"Phileo" love is best defined as tender affection; love from the emotions in a person's soul. It is that kind of love which responds to love from another. It is the love of true friends; love of a child for his parents or for another child; love between a husband and wife. It can be casual or intense. It cannot be relegated to just human emotion. Jesus used this word in describing the Father's love for Him (See John 5:20). "Phileo" is also used in describing the Father's feelings toward all of the Son's disciples (See John 16:27).
The Greatest Commandment
The Bible declares that the greatest commandment is to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind” (Matt 22:37-39 NLT). Jesus said that loving your neighbor as yourself was the same as loving God first and foremost and that no “other commandment is greater than these" (Mk 12:31 NLT). Fulfilling the Great Commission starts simultaneously with the Great Commandment!
Within the religions of the world it is not uncommon to hear that the greatest thing to obtain is faith. Yet, the first and Great Commandment given by God was not to have faith but rather, to love Him. Faith - in and of itself - is useless unless it is energized by God’s love. This love command is the foundation of Christianity. The reason God wants Christians to love Him with all their heart, soul, and mind, is because that is how He loves them! (See Matt 22:37-40)
God’s very essence is love (See 1 John 4:7-10). He has always been love, even before He created man and women. He has always sought to have a close relationship with His children. Human Beings were made for this love. Their entire story is wrapped up within it. Love is the energy of life and is why humans were created. Love is their eternal destiny.
Christianity is the only religion that sets forth the Creator of the Universe as Love. All of creation resounds with the proof that God is love. Within Him is found all the fullness of excellence, beauty, and perfection. He is the author of all that is good in creation. This truth is taught throughout the Bible, beginning with Adam in the Garden of Eden.
When God created Adam, He said to him, "I will make a partner suitable to you" (Gen 2:18 NIV). God was declaring the hidden purpose of His heart from eternity past. Holy Spirit reveals that the mystery of the ages is that this promise ultimately speaks of Jesus and the Church (See Eph. 5:25-6:1).
God proved He is love by choosing to walk among mankind and die in their place (See John 3:16). He now reaches out His arms in tender affection with nail pierced hands in the most pure and intimate way.
The very nature and essence of love requires that it must grow in a willing heart. Sadly, there are many who are not yet able to experience the fundamental reality that God loves and enjoys them. There are even those who would argue that God could not possibly be in love with them.
What a person believes about God is the most important thing contained in their mind. It affects everything about them. For too many people, God seems remote, impersonal, and unknowable. Because of that, many suffer from an inability to feel forgiven, nagged by doubt and mistrust of Him. A dysfunctional picture of God results in a dysfunctional way of praying. Jesus revealed this truth when He asked;
"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him." (Luke 11:11-13)
Those that had an earthly father who was never around when they needed him, or have experienced trauma, abuse, or extreme discipline, will have a very difficult time pursuing an intimate relationship with the heavenly Father. However, God’s love can soften the hardest of hearts and restore every broken and shattered piece of a person’s life.
The Bridegroom King
God has an indescribable desire and delight in human beings. He likes them, enjoys them, wants them and pursues them.
“The Bible unveils the ultimate purpose of creating mankind at the very end. It reveals the day when the Bride of Christ meets Jesus, her heavenly Bridegroom, and the marriage covenant is celebrated.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” (Rev 19:7 NIV)
Some say that the Bride of Christ is the universal Church and not each individual member of the Church. The Bible reveals that there is never any variance or change in God’s love, even if there was only one person left on the Earth! This is the most profound mystery of God’s love! The King of the Universe, the beautiful God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, - the supreme Lord of all creation - is so passionately in love with every individual person on this planet that the Bible describes it as the love of a groom for his bride! God’s heart is full of deep affection for every Christian for He takes great “delight” in them “as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride” (Isa 62:4-5 NIV).
The Bible teaches that God’s heart is ravished with enjoyment and delight over His people and that He pursues every Believer with a personal and relentless, infinite love. God is not some mystical, nebulous force whose love is only focused on vast populations. He is passionate towards each individual person.
John the Baptist introduced himself and his personal ministry in context to the Bridegroom King (See John 3:29). Jesus was the first to introduce this truth to the Church in His last sermon before the Cross (See Matt 22:1-13). The Apostle John points to the prominence of this truth in the generation the Lord returns (See Rev 22:17, Hos. 2:16). The Bible clearly reveals how important to God the Bride-Bridegroom relationship is (See 2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:9; Isa. 54:5; 61:10; Jer. 31:32).
The teaching of Jesus as the Bridegroom King is based primarily on a metaphorical view of the Song of Solomon as a breathtaking and beautiful story of divine love when the prophetic nature of its words are illuminated. It was said by scholarly Rabbis that all the Scriptures are holy, but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies. They symbolically saw God’s people married to the Lord (See Isa. 54:5 and Jer. 31:32).
On the surface, this book is just a love song written by King Solomon to a young women, however, if that were its only meaning there would have been no need for Holy Spirit to put it into the Bible. This marriage Song of songs is written in the language of romantic bridal love:
“You have ravished my heart, My sister, my spouse; You have ravished my heart. With one look of your eyes, With one link of your necklace. How fair is your love, My sister, my spouse! How much better than wine is your love, And the scent of your perfumes than all spices!” (Song 4:9-10 NKJV)
The word “ravished” is “livabethini” in Hebrew and comes from the root word “levav” that means “heart”. The picture presented here represents God’s heart joined in a love relationship with His Bride, the Church. It is a picture of two hearts opening up to each other and becoming equally vulnerable.
In classic writing the word “livabethini” is used for the pulling of bark (hard outer shell) off a tree and exposing its circulatory system. In this verse the Brides love has literally stripped Solomon of the hard shell that was built around his heart to protect it and he has made himself vulnerable.
The Passion of Christ
Human words cannot express the love God has for every person. He is PASSIONATE about every Christian and who they are in Christ. He is passionate about what they do, and their marriage, and family - and each of their friends and loved ones. He is passionate about seeing every Christian grow closer to Him and to know Him more so that they can be more like Him. Yet, His love is in a realm that transcends all human comprehension and understanding. Attempts at explaining this passion with expressions such as lovesick, desperate, hopeless, romantic, ravished, head-over-heals, etc, are infinitely inadequate to describe His magnificent love.
When a person receives Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior He awakens the passion of His love within, and then asks them to begin a journey of holy desire for more of Him on a path of uncertain direction. As the Christian willingly begins this journey, they will ultimately come to a point of no return - which is the place of self-abandonment - where no sacrifice is too great, or any possession held in higher importance than the fiery flame of God’s all consuming affection. It is there that His love is sealed upon their heart (Song 8:6-7).
The Christian can then join with the Psalmist in understanding and declare:
“Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none on the earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Ps. 73:25-26 NIV)
There are some who have distorted the holiness of God’s passion and have made the teaching of the Bridegroom relationship into a kind of carnal sensuality and mystical experience that has wrecked havoc within many churches and the lives of young and immature Believers. This convoluted teaching has caused many to want absolutely nothing to do with it because, to them, it is heresy. That has caused a “throw out the baby with the bath water” mentality in the arguments of those who stand opposed to it.
The Dowry of the King
I began my personal experience with Jesus as the Bridegroom King when I was a teenager. Over the decades since then I have seen far more people positively transformed than harmed as they come to understand the pure and passionate way God thinks and feels about them - especially in their weakness. God has placed within men and women the need for holy love. The simple truth is that God looks upon every Christian with loving affection.
I have come to see that the revelation of His love and enjoyment for every individual is vitally important for emotional and spiritual health, whether they be male or female. It may be hard for some men to accept Jesus as the Bridegroom King on a personal basis, but that does not negate the truth that God’s infinite and majestic love is directed intimately towards them.
When a Christian comes to understand that Jesus is the loving Bridegroom, their need to feel loved and enjoyed by God is met. Something profound happens in them when, even in their weakness and brokenness, they feel wanted, longed for, and rejoiced in. This causes them to run to God instead of from Him when they fall or severe challenges take place in their life.
Jesus calls His Bride to run to Him regardless of what they have, or have not thought, or done, or said. The only purpose God has for every person on the planet is to give their heart to Jesus as a voluntary lover.
Because God is love, He desires to be loved and trusted in return. All of His sovereign rule and control over the Universe is based upon love (See 1 John 4:8, Heb. 1:3; Col 1:17). Humans were created for relationship with God, and all authority derives from that relationship.
In order to truly know and experience love a person must learn to trust. In order to trust they must become vulnerable emotionally, physically and spiritually. Allowing one’s self to be vulnerable is what propels love to unimaginable heights of ecstasy and satisfaction.
An amazing truth is that every Christian is a love gift given by the Father to the Son and will always be the object of Jesus prayers! (See Jn 17) This is one of the greatest mysteries of God. Jesus sees each individual Believer as personally belonging to Him forever. They are the dowry of the Bridegroom King! Nothing can separate them from His love. It is not because they believed on Jesus but because the Father has given them to Him!
"My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:29 NIV)
In His prayer of intercession, Jesus thanks the Father seven times for giving them to Him. Every Believer belongs to the Father and to the Son because God is not mad – He is madly in love!
An Impossible Task?
It is not an unreasonable command to love God. His love is the only kind of love that the human heart was made for. The love of God is the strongest force in the universe because it emanates directly from His heart.
It is far more than youthful enthusiasm or the emotional affection and passion of human love. It is deeper and more influential than any human feeling. It is what set the entire universe into motion and sent Jesus to die on the Cross.
When a person comes to see Jesus for who He really is - LOVE incarnate - they can truly understand their ultimate destiny and "rely on the love God has for us," because, "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:16 NIV).
Coming to the understanding that God is love will open up the heart to accept God’s invitation to engage in a love relationship built on the foundation of trust. There is no safe hiding place outside of His all-consuming burning love. The only real safety in this world for the Christian is to be consumed by the love of God.
The Christian can do nothing to gain His affection. Obedience alone will not produce love in the human heart - nor can it excite love. It is the affectionate kindness and goodness of God that produces and calls forth the supreme love from the heart that He desires. His love can become deeply rooted and interwoven within the mind and emotions of the Believer.
Loving God is not an impossible task. This love commanded by God is really not that different from that which is offered effortlessly to one’s children, or spouse, or family. Within it is found the same pleasure and sense of purpose, and it is really not that hard to express as God requires. He wants every human being to love Him. As the Apostle of love wrote, "We love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19 NIV).
Loving God is best expressed by celebrating Him through worship that uses both behavior and emotion to help release the depths of love, thanksgiving, praise, and adoration generated in the heart by Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. The Great Commandment is the definition of true worship.
Some have said that it was because of his great love for Eve that the first Adam willingly gave up his life at the fall because he did not want to spend eternity without his bride. The Bible says that Jesus is the last Adam who, because of His great love, willingly gave up His life because He did not want to spend eternity without His bride, the Church (1 Cor 15:45).
The infinite Creator God has given mankind an infinite capacity to love and be loved. Within Jesus - love incarnate - every Christian lives, and moves, and has their being (Acts 17:28). Jesus is the foundation of all love. To love Him with all of the heart is the very least that one can do. The Great Commandment is about loving God with all of one’s affections, emotions, and devotion. It is the ultimate and purest form of worship. It is love responding to love. Only within Jesus can complete rest and contentment be found. Love fulfills all of the commandments because when a Christian loves God they fulfill all of the law.
Nothing Can Separate
There is absolutely nothing that can separate the Believer from God’s love:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Rom 8:35 NIV)
The absolute truth is that Jesus will never abandon you. When you cry, He will have compassion and cry with you. When you shout with joy, He will laugh with you. When you are sad He will encourage you. When you fall, He will raise you up. When you are tired, He will carry you. He will be with you until the end of days, and will love you forever.
Giving your heart to Jesus as a voluntary lover is the only purpose God has for you!
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (1 John 4:7-11 KJV)