Summary: We are called to live out a life that is filled with the love of Christ

The Life of Love

John 13:34-35

January 13, 2002


Love-letter lament:

Dearest Jimmy,

No words could ever express the great unhappiness I’ve felt since breaking our engagement. Please say you’ll take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart, so please forgive me. I love you, I love you, I love you! Yours forever, Marie.

P.S., And congratulations on willing the state lottery.

Source Unknown.

Doesn’t this really reveal the attitude that exists about love in our American society? Many, many people show love when they have a reason or when they feel like it. Love is greatly misunderstood in our society. We have created a kind of pseudo love that is really nothing more than boiled down emotionalism that creates a series of specific feelings. What do I mean by this?

We apply “love’ to all kinds of circumstances or situations in life. Here are some examples of what I mean.

Love is what you feel when you are with special people. I love my ___________. (Husband, wife, son, daughter, brother or sister.)

Love is what you feel when you do a specific activity. I love to ____________. (watch football, read, go shopping )

Love is what you feel about certain items you own. I love my _____________. (Car, house, computer)

Love is what you feel when you eat your favorite food. I just love __________. (steak, pizza, KFC, peanut butter pie)

Feeling a bit confused about what love is? You’re not alone.

When love is treated like something we feel or something that is fleeting, at best, we lose some of the essence of what love is and redefine love as something it is not. Love becomes attached with sentiment and endearment that can be applied to whatever, whoever, whenever, wherever, and however we please. When we do this we make love fickle, shallow and powerless. Love becomes nothing more than “warm fuzzies” and flowery talk. Isn’t there more to love than this?

“A new command I give you; love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

If love is merely an emotion or sentiment, how can it be commanded? How can anyone, even God, command us on how to feel?

There must be more to love than just feelings and emotions. There are two defining facts about love.

1. Love is a matter of choice.

2. Love is a matter of conduct

Newspaper columnist and minister George Crane tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. "I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me."

Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan "Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you love him. After you’ve convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that your’re getting a divorce. That will really hurt him." With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, "Beautiful, beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!" And she did it with enthusiasm. Acting "as if." For two months she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing, sharing. When she didn’t return, Crane called. "Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?"

"Divorce?" she exclaimed. "Never! I discovered I really do love him." Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion. The ability to love is established not so much by fervent promise as often repeated deeds.

J. Allan Petersen.

The ancient Greeks had a deep understanding of love and they used four words to express the deeper reality of love.

1. Eros:

Definition: This love rises from infatuation or sexual desire

Biblical implication: This term is never used in the New Testament

2. Storge

Definition: This love rises from natural affection and relates to family love

Biblical implication: This term is used in the New Testament to describe a parent’s love for a child

3. Phileo

Definition: This love rises from deep friendship or deep emotional affection

Biblical implication: This term is used in the New Testament to describe personal relationships or “brotherly love”

4. Agape

Definition: This love rises from God. It is a complete love that includes the mind, reason and will of a person. This type of love is primarily a product of choice

Biblical implication: This term is used in the New Testament to describe God’s love and how Christians are to love one another and others

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