Love Love is a verb, Love is a doing word
The words of a well known song I was listening to recently caught my attention and have moved me to think deeply about love. Those words are these:
"Love, love is a verb Love is a doing word."
It's funny how we think of love more as a describing word than a doing word. We tend to think of it as something we experience. But why do we? God never made love to be a passive experience. Even when receiving love from others, we are supposed to actively do it, and to do so with thanks- giving,
"We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing." (2 thessalonians 1:3)
Love like Jesus!
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34)
Well how did Jesus love us? We have to figure out as Jesus wants us to love one another that way! Well when we think of what Jesus has done to show that He loves us, the pretty obvious answer comes to mind. Jesus died for us so He could take the condemnation for our sin, so He could be purity for us and we could be made holy and blameless, and because of his self- sacrifice we could be reconciled to God as His children. What does the love of Christ look like? Self sacrifice,
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." (1 John 3:16)
Words are not enough! Love is a doing word!
Love. Love. Love is something we hear about a lot. Love stories, films, books, songs, tv programs and advice columns on dating and relationships, families struggling to find enough 'love' to reconcile differences and repair their brokeness. A divorce rate that is higher than ever. For all this talk of love, something seems to have gone wrong. The problem is, for all this talk of love love, it has been reduced to a word, and it is no longer remembered that it is a doing- word. Love should be deeply felt and this kind of love causes an overflow of passion for others!
"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart." (1 Peter 1:22)
But what does this love look like?
Well I'm glad you asked! Now there isn't a stone God has left unturned when it comes to teaching us how to love. We have been thoroughly instructed on how to love Him with all our hearts, minds and souls and how to love one another too! Let's have a look at what He tells us love should look like:
"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 rejoics with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails." (1 Cor 13: 4-8)
Now that we've had a look at the famous Corinthians passage on love, let me tell you what an invaluable treasure it has been to me these past few months. I have been trying to grow in love for God and others and I have found it a joy to study this piece of scripture.
At first I would read it and consider examples of when I had and hadn't been 'loving' according to God's design for love. So I would start at the beginning and say, "well love is patient...hmm, I am a fairly patient person. I was very understanding with my friends bad mood the other day...though I wasn't very patient with that sales advisor who was a bit rude to me at the store...I could have loved them more. Then I would pray "God thank-you that ther is evidence of your love at work within me and I was able to bless a friend with this. Forgive me for not showing the person at the store more love and teach me to grow in my love in this way..." Then it would be onto the next thing in God's list of love.
However, recently I have had a particular challenge in loving a specific person, so....I have worked through the whole list applied to them. Where was I loving as my Father has taught me how to? And where could I have been more loving? It was an immense blessing to me and I can honestly say from the minute I started that study I immediately began to grow in love for them. I was able to try to understand their viewpoint more. I was able to adopt patience, loose the pride and scrap all record of wrongs, which got me to a point of being able to hand the situation to God and have absolute peace in it.
Now don't get me wrong, sometimes I am still upset by that persons behavior towards me. So what do I do?? You got it, I get out my Bible again and flick back to the God's love overview and do it again. Having a routine like that really takes the pressure off of trying to fight relationship and hurt issues on your own and in your own head- it's only an endless fight with yourself when you do that and you will feel guilty and hopelessly messy. However, turning it outwards on God and giving it to Him in this exorcise is an amazing relief and fantastic way to grow in the practice of love.
A further point is that love must be a fearless thing. If that is the case then why do we have so much difficulty with loving one another. Why is there so many trust issues and hurt amongst us? Well the answer is because the world doesn't know how to love as God intended. The world has made it's own cheap imitation of love, and sadly most of us have bought into it in some way or another at some point.
We have to keep coming back to God's word to show us what love is and what it should look like in our lives, whether we are giving it or receiving it. The description from 1 Corinthians and the example we have had in Christ's sacrifice for our gain will keep us right if we stand firm by it. Off course there would be no fear in love if it looked like this! So we can confidently say these words;
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18)
Again I take you back to this vital verse in learning what love is:
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." (1 John 3:16)