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What is Love?

Updated on November 13, 2011

It seems like people spend their entire lives trying to answer this question. That, and what is the meaning of life? People are driven by love, do crazy things for love, endlessly search for love, even die for love. Why?

The answer, to me, has always been clear. We were designed to love and be loved. This is not something that we created in our minds or that society imposed upon us. From the very minute we are born, we long for our mother's touch, her loving arms, and the comfort of her voice. As we grow up, the love from our parents is vital to shaping our self image and indicative of the relationships we will seek out in the future. As adults, we stay in dysfunctional situations because of the perception of love and we plan our fairytale weddings to Prince Charming.

Countless wedding officiants have recited the following scripture from the Bible:

1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres...Love never fails....And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

When I read this passage, I am reminded of how often the love that we give and receive looks nothing like God's idea of love. We are selfish by nature, we break trust, we lose faith, we give up, we are hurtful and prideful. So many marriages end in divorce because one or both people have failed at putting the other person first.

So, what is the real answer? If we are truly hardwired to seek out love, then what is it that we're looking for?

The greatest love of all is sacrificial and unconditional. It's something we all desire to have but are incapable of giving. It's a love so strong that it would fight relentlessly and work to no end to prove its devotion. It is so abundant and full of grace that it would love even the most despicable of human beings. It is a love worth dying for.

All of our lives, the searching and seeking, the dysfunction and the heartbreak, it was all due to an innate longing for the greatest love of all. Each one of us needs the affirmation of God's love in our lives -- the perfect, sacrificial, gracious, awesome love of God. His love gives us value and purpose. This is a love that was worth dying for -- through the work of Christ on the cross.

If you're looking for that kind of love and need it desperately like the rest of us, it's yours for the taking. Because of God's grace we -- those most despicable of human beings -- can know the greatest love of all.

All we have to do is ask and believe.


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