True Love

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

Did you remember??? Today is the day! The day that women pine for. The day that men rue and often regret. Today is the day that can lead to women telling their lady friends that special story over and over again . . . or to men working hard to get out of the dog house.

Today is Valentine’s Day!

Like most festive days of celebration in America, this day has become grossly distorted and commercialized. Like Christmas, Easter, and many other days, there is no specific order of events, but there are a couple hard and fast rules:

  1. Men better buy flowers and/or candy for their special ladies
  2. The bigger the surprise, and the more you go out of your way, the better
  3. Whether with little candy hearts, Justin Bieber Valentines, or a few roses–you must take time to express your love to all the special people in your life in some way, shape, or form

I suppose this is all worthwhile. It’s always nice to express appreciation and love. It’s always nice to go out of your way for someone else on occasion. It’s always nice to say or to receive an “I love you.”

Then again, Valentine’s Day might be episodic or symptomatic of America’s failure to understand love. It’s ironic to me that a majority of couples today choose the words from 1 Corinthians 13 above as one of the readings for their wedding. It’s the ideal picture of love. It’s the dream goal for every husband and wife. If only they can love like that–like a fairytale or sappy romance movie–then everything will be just fine!

Yet over half of all marriages end in divorce. That “feeling” of love disappears somehow for most. Meanwhile, other couples try so hard to show their love by buying nice gifts and pricy jewelry. Or most common in our culture, couples try to see how great their love is by “making it” between the sheets.

Yes, that is love in America–a feeling, a surprise gift, or an intimate arousal of passion that lasts a few minutes.

But that is not the kind of love that God speaks about in the Bible. Moreover, that’s thankfully not the kind of love that God has shown to us.

Interestingly, the famous words above from the great “love chapter” of the Bible are actually not about husband and wife. Not specifically, at least. Rather, they are God’s description of the love that every Christian would show for every other person in this world.

True love is not done for show or for glory or for recognition. True love is the other-serving motivation for every word we speak and every action we take. Otherwise we are just a resounding gong. If we don’t have this love, we are nothing God says.

And true love is not in it for what is received in return or the good feeling it will give us or our sweetie-pie. Oh no. True love is self-sacrificing. True love is humble. True love seeks the interests of others first. True love has no regard for who the other person is or what the other person has done.

In the original Greek of the Bible, this kind of love is called agape love. This is different then fileo love (friendship love) or eros love (passionate, fleshy love) in Scripture and the Greek language.  Want to guess which Greek word is used above in 1 Corinthians 13? Want to guess which Greek word is used in the Bible to describe the love between husband and wife? Want to guess which Greek word is always used to describe God’s love for us?

That’s right, agape love. The greatest kind of love is love that has no regard for who a person is or what the person has done. Agape love is true love.

Just look at God’s agape love for us! Though this is a world full of worthless, pathetic, disobedient, and defiant sinners–of whom I am surely the worst–God himself came here to live for me and die for me. Jesus showed the ultimate self-sacrificing love as he even laid down his life for the very world of people that sin against him. It reminds us of what Jesus himself said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

So the love that husband and wife are to have for one another–and the love described above in 1 Corinthians 13 that all Christians are to share–that love is but a mere reflection of the love that Christ has had for us. Or as the apostle John said it, “We love (agape) because he first loved (agape) us.”

Go ahead and buy lots of flowers and chocolates today. Take that special someone out for dinner. Draw little hearts and Xs and Os on a your dearest’s napkin. Those are all great, beneficial, and signs of love.

But do these things with self-sacrificing, humble, and patient agape love. Do these things looking for nothing in return. And then . . . do these things every day, and do these things for every one!

That is true love. That is love that is special. That is the love that really means something. That is love that will last. And . . .

That is the love that God had for us so that is now the love that we have for each other.

Happy Valentine’s Day. May God’s true love fill you and then overflow from you today and always.

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About Pastor Phil Huebner

Pastor. Missionary. Principal. Husband. Father. Serving in love as each. http://www.ctkpalmcoast.com

Posted on February 14, 2012, in Church, Preschool and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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