What is the meaning of love?
In today’s culture, love is incorrectly characterized as an elated feeling or emotion that is accompanied by sexual attraction. When relationships are formed based on this self-serving portrayal of love, they rarely last. This “love” describes something that must be earned by making someone feel good:
“If you are attractive to me, be nice to me, meet my needs and love me I in return will “love” you.”
Take away the newness of this type of relationship and pleasure that stems from it, what was thought to be love will be lost.
The true meaning of love
If you research the origin of the word love, you will find that it refers to an action, a verb. Love, derived from the Old English word, lufian means “to love, cherish, show love to; delight in, approve.” In essence, love is demonstrated in action by doing something specific and tangible for others. Love is not something that we can obtain or “fall into” but something we cultivate and give to another person without expecting to receive anything in return.
One of my favorite Bible verses comes from the book of 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. The most commonly known version of this verse comes from the NIV Bible, however, I am partial to the Message Bible version below:
1 Corinthians 13:3-7 MSG
[3-7] If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
In this scripture, Paul is describing a kind of love that is directed outward, toward others, not inward to ourselves. Love that God has for his children and expects us to show toward others. This type of love does not come naturally for us and in contrast, goes against our natural inclinations. Without Gods help, our selfish nature is not capable of feeling or expressing authentic love. Love that will last through the ages because we care enough to sacrifice our needs in order to meet the needs of another.
For those of you interested in growing your love relationships, check out the book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Dr. Gary Chapman. Dr. Chapman also offers an online quiz to help you identify your top love languages which you can access by clicking this link: What’s my love language
Sending peace, love & happiness to all,
You may also be interested in reading this:
- Love is the greatest gift
- God’s love offers hope to the hardened heart
- God’s perfect love will crush your every fear
- How God reveals His love and mercy in the winds of change
- A heart happy and secure in the love of the Lord is free to live a fearless life
- How To Rise From Brokenness With The Love And Comfort Of Jesus