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What

What is Love?

(Understanding God’s Love Series)

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

The role for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you "love" your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.

— C.S. Lewis

What is Love?

Have you ever asked yourself what love is? It might sound like an obvious answer, but true love may be different than you might expect. 

Is your definition of love one that is worldly or godly? The world defines “love” differently than God does. One is conditional, and the other is unconditional. God’s love is unconditional and perfect (1 John 4:18). Therefore, God wants you to love unconditionally, and as He loves.

When you ask yourself, ‘What is love?’ You have to look to the Father.

We have come to know [by personal observation and experience], and have believed [with deep, consistent faith] the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides continually in him (1 John 4:16 AMP)

John tells you that God is love. If God equals love, then love equals God. Does that make sense? 1 John 4:8 says, whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Love is a byproduct of having a deep relationship with God. I believe it is impossible to have a deep and committed relationship with the Father and not know how to love because the Holy Spirit changes you to be more like Christ. When you become more like Christ, you become more capable of love.

We all are capable of love because we were made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), but to showcase and shine unconditional love intentionally results from knowing (participating in a relationship with) God.

For you to love unconditionally and righteously, you must know God. To know God means you have a relationship with Him. It means you believe and know you belong with Him. It means you have faith in His character.

Since God is love, everything God thinks, speaks, and does are examples of how He shows His love for you. Perhaps that is why James reminds us that everything good comes from above (James 1:17).

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 breaks down what love is:

 

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever ( NLT).

1 Corinthians 13:7 states a mighty truth. God never gives up, loses faith, but He is always hopeful and positive, and He holds on to you in every circumstance. Since God does that for you, you are to do that for others. Please understand God has boundaries, and I am not encouraging you to be walked over, disrespected, or abused. You can love people from afar too in those extreme situations. But, overall, we are to behave as 1 Corinthians so clearly states.

Love is strong. Love can absorb and withstand all loveless behavior. How many times have you operated with fear or a loveless behavior? Yet God still poured out His love for you!

Everyone stumbles. Everyone is struggling with something because problems are a part of this fallen world. Jesus tells you to first get the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s (or sister’s) eye (Matthew 7:5). The reason being is you will have more compassion, kindness, understanding, and grace for your sibling in Christ, who is stumbling. It’s easy to act prideful when one sees another stumble. Still, the only fruit that comes out with pride is self-righteousness – something God detests. At the end of the day, sin is sin. Jesus reminds us that we are not better or more deserving of love than another.

Love is not tit for tat, but self-sacrificing (John 15:13). Love always thinks the best case scenario of someone. Love holds on to the faith or belief that a person’s word is truth and that one will do what he or she says. Love is honest and truthful. Love trusts. Love holds on to optimism and positivity.

Christ commands us to love one another as He has loved us (John 15:12), then showing love is a choice. If we do not respond in love, we are sinning. Perhaps this shows you the tremendous importance of renewing your mind (Romans 12:2) to always love (Mark 12:30-31).

Always loving might be easier than you think. Neuroscience informs us that we are wired for love, and love is a human’s default mode. Ironically, fear is a learned behavior. Such findings making sense when you think about it. If God is love and you are made in God’s image (His love), then love is your foundation. You are hardwired to love, which is why operating from love feels so good! 🥰 If humans were created to hate and participate with fear, it would feel better than it does. Being mean, cruel, inconsiderate, rude, judgmental, and other forms of fear do not feel good at all. In fact, it increases cortisol in the body, and too much cortisol equates to toxic stress and is damaging.

If fear or hate felt good, it would benefit your body, but it does the opposite. It destroys you. When you operate out of love, you allow yourself to start to unlearn negative and toxic mindsets, and doesn’t God’s light expose the darkness (Ephesians 5:13)?

Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, melts away negative and toxic thoughts. This hormone can help rewire your brain, creating new nontoxic connections—thoughts impact brain chemistry, which influences the body’s 75-100 trillion cells at quantum speed. 

In short, allowing the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to work inside of you can help you erase fear. When we respond in love, endorphins and serotonin are also released, making you feel unstoppable and filled with light. 

When we feel great like this, you know what happens? You start to be more authentic -more in alignment with how God designed you to be- your brain begins to detox, while motivation and wisdom increase.

You are to have the same mindset as Christ (Philippians 2:5). But attitudes reflect the core of how you are choosing to spend your time thinking and feeling. Your attitude gives insight into your spiritual maturity.

In answering the question, what is love?
Love is God. God is love. Love is your default mode. Love is your spirit shining through. Love is renewing your mind and character to be more like Christ. Love is shown by actively listening, helping, encouraging, giving, comforting, creating, sacrificing, and meeting others’ needs. Love allows the light inside of you to shine outwardly to help people feel like they belong and are enough. How God shows you love is how you are to show others love.

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV)

In closing, I cannot talk about God’s love without talking about belonging. Love helps someone feel they belong, and every human craves belonging and connection.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

The verses above remind the reader of the power relationships has in one’s life. God created us to be in relationship with Him and others because love is meant to be shared. It is easy to be short with people you don’t like or be exclusive when you are around new people. However, God wants you to show grace, mercy, compassion, and kindness to all. It doesn’t matter if they deserve it because, quite frankly, you don’t always deserve it either. The next time you are at a social gathering and see someone alone, reach out and talk with them. Connect with them. Help everyone you come in contact with, understand they belong in the body of Christ.

I promise you if you could do a better job at loving as God loves, many of your life’s problems would go away. Love is the answer to everything because God is the answer to everything. So when you don’t know what to do – Love💕.

What can you start doing to show more of God’s love to yourself and others?  

Prayer: Father God, wow, thank You for loving me unconditionally. I want to love as You love. Help me to love the way You love. Show me what is blocking me from loving people the way You ask Your children to love. Daddy, I want to give You all of me and live only for You, but I know I fall short. I know without You I am nothing. I surrender everything to You. Thank You for loving me. Thank You for helping me see everyone as You see them. In Jesus’ name, Amen!