If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing (1 Cor. 13:3 ESV)
What is love, at least from God’s perspective? The entire world is celebrating love on Valentine’s day— February 14th. I will not get into the details of the Greek words used for love in the New Testament ( agape and phileo), but I will give you a very fundamental framework for understanding what love is.
Please re-read our scripture above again and take note of a possible paradox there.That scripture reveals a profound truth about love. It is possible to give away everything you have to the poor and needy or even lay your life down yet not have love. What then is love?
The ESV translators give us a valuable hint “Love cannot be measured by actions alone; motives must be assessed to determine what is loving”(1). Love has two components: the heart-set and corresponding actions. The heart-set describes the way an individual thinks, feels or regards someone. The actions of love describe activities done for the benefit and interest of another person. These two must go together. Love-like actions without the heart-attitude is a spiritual waste, as our scripture above tells us. Similarly, love that has filled your heart without any actions is dead, just like faith without works is dead.
What is love? It encapsulates your inner and outward disposition towards another person. It is an affection( with its motives etc.), that is followed by an action that makes another person smile! This is why true love makes the world a better place, but it is hard to find it. As a believer, you are the light and the salt of the earth to demonstrate true love to the world around you.
How did God demonstrate His love to us? Rom. 5:8. What is the difference between lust and love in the realm of sexual love?(Hint- love focuses on the other while lust focuses on self-gratification)
APPLY THE WORD
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way…..” (1 Cor. 13:4-5 ESV). Would you demonstrate true love today?
Ask the Spirit of God to help you walk in love and not selfishness in disguise.