Aren’t we all like Lucy? We all want to be loved. But what kind of love do we give away? Musical artist Johnny Lee sings the following lyrics:
I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places Lookin’ for love in too many faces Searchin’ their eyes Lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreaming of Hoping to find a friend and lover I’ll bless the day I discover Another heart lookin’ for love
How many of us look for love in all the wrong places? Hobbies, spouses, careers, children, friends, sports…all trying to find the love that fills us. We’ll never find it in these things. As Christians we understand that what we search for in these things is only found through a personal relationship with Christ. Yet, love isn’t just something we look for in ourselves. It’s also something we are to give away.
In another cartoon, Lucy yells at Charlie Brown and says, “Look, Blockhead, the world I love. Its people I can’t stand.” Our world definitely needs love. We choose to love certain people whom we deem worthy of our love and the ones that don’t measure up or are different than us we stick a label on them and turn our noses up and walk away…or even worse say unkind things. The simple truth is loving other people is difficult…and some are harder than others!
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:2, “If I have the give of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13 is known as the “love chapter” and it often read or quoted at Christian weddings. What we learn from this chapter is that love is more than something we feel. The word ‘love’ is a verb and verbs require action. Love is an action. You can tell someone you love them all day, but if you ignore them, do or say unkind things, never spend time with that person, will they feel loved by you? Probably not. The love Paul talks about in this chapter is something that is both experienced and demonstrated.
If you have been married for very long, then there has probably been a moment where the feeling of love may not have been as strong as it has at other times and maybe there have been some moments where the feeling of love was even non-existent. However, if we were married only on the days where we feel like loving our spouse, it wouldn’t be much of a marriage.
Paul compares love to the spiritual gifts of, prophecy, knowledge, and faith. Prophecy refers to the ability to declare God’s truth in a powerful, life-changing way. Knowledge involves the deep understanding of God’s Word. Faith is the unique ability to trust God for great things. Paul says that the Holy Spirit can give you all three of these spiritual gifts but if you do not have love, then you are nothing. Love is the greatest expression of our faith and belief in Christ.
The simple fact is, as a Christian, the world can see every spiritual gift we have been given, but if we do not love the lost, expressing love to them through the use of those gifts, then what good is the gifts we’ve been given? If we “minister” out of duty or expectation, rather than out of love, then what is the point of what we do? God knows our motivation for what we do. If we are not ministering and serving with a genuine love for all people we might as well not be serving at all. God didn’t place us in our respective areas of service or ministry so that we are fulfilling our own needs. He placed us there to love other…even the ones we would consider unlovable. In God’s eyes there are no “unloveables.” Jesus died for each and every one of us, regardless of economic status, nationality, skin color, or language. He sacrificed his love for every human being, regardless of our messy pasts and current troubles.
If love is an action, not an emotion, then it’s past time that we sat aside the labels and see others as God sees them….someone worthy of sending his only begotten Son to die for. If love in an action, then we need to stop saying we love others and prove it by expressing and demonstrating it so that the lost are able to experience the love of Christ through the way that we express His love to them. If we were meant to keep His love all to ourselves, then the Bible would say “For God so loved [insert your name]” but that isn’t what John 3:16 says. It says, “For God so love the world…” that’s every single person.
It’s time for Christians to stop talking about love and put it into action. It’s time we started “loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.” What is something you can do today to put love into action? Will you pray about it and ask God to show you how you can demonstrate His extravagant love to someone else today?