When we read the word “love” in the Bible we should always be careful to remind ourselves that it bears little resemblance to what passes for love in today’s world. When the people of our culture speak of “love” they are usually referring to something that impulsively springs from feelings of happiness, warmth, attraction, affection or pleasure. But the Bible uses the word to describe something very deliberate, usually without reference or thought to motives driven by good feelings. On the contrary, in the Bible depth of love is typically measured by the extent to which that love required sacrifice and planning.
Consider the Bible’s ultimate description of love. It wasn’t generated by an impulsive attraction to the ones being loved. The Bible says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom.5:8). Elsewhere we are told that the “love” we are to have for others is based on this template of sacrificial love, which isn’t given because it “feels good,” but rather because it accomplishes good! “Bear with the failings of the weak” we are told, not seeking to “please ourselves,” but instead working to “please our neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself” (Rom.15:1-3).
I realize this clarification may seem superfluous to those familiar with the Bible, but I find it is very easy to forget. So let us make sure to remember. And let’s all purpose and plan to love each other as he loved us (Eph.5:1-2; 1Jn.4:11).
-- Pastor Mike
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