What’s This “Love” Thing, Anyway?

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

So…Love. Such an easy word to say, but what does it really mean? As I sat down the other morning to spend some quiet time with God he began to speak to my heart about this word, and what it means to me as his child. This one simple word that has become the driving force behind how and why I live is the exact word that I couldn’t utter or accept at one point in my life. In fact, I can still remember the pain, at nineteen, when I would look at the person in the mirror with such hate, disgust, anger, and emptiness. I remember thinking when I heard the words, “I love you,” that the world was filled with a bunch of liars because love was false. If I felt nothing but hate and worthlessness for my own self, then how was it possible for someone else to see me differently?

But…love. It is the very thing that saved me. Since the beginning of time love was true, because before time began, God was. God didn’t set out to create a mistake. I wasn’t just an “oops!” in his great plan, to be forgotten about and left without hope and purpose.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” And at the very end of this same chapter it goes on to say, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good…” (Genesis 1: 31a)

These verses hold true today, just as they did yesterday and will continue to be true for eternity. No, I wasn’t just a mistake to my Daddy. Just the opposite—I was his precious creation that was being swallowed up by a world that is filled with hate, lies, and ultimately death. And I was believing it, and dying in it.

The night I surrendered the to lies of this world was the very same night I surrendered my heart to Jesus Christ. That night, when I was convinced that all hope was lost, was the very night that hope grabbed hold of my heart and has never let go. A deep hatred and pain that had held such control over me, was overwhelmed and defeated by my God who said, “I AM, and I love you!” Those are the words that I heard that night. Did I understand everything in scripture— who Jesus was, how big our God is? No! But what I did understand is love. I understood that God is love, because when your heart is torn open by him and filled with his saving love, there resides truth that can no longer be denied.

So yes, we say we want to bring the love of Christ to everyone; to our families and friends, to those in our communities and surrounding areas, and even across the world—trusting that God will change lives eternally. This “love” that we are bringing surpasses all worldly understanding. It is much more than feeding someone in need, loving on a child without a family, helping those who have been hurt in horrendous ways, etc. This “love” saves.

Trust me, it’s not my love, because in my own strength I can do nothing. This “love” I keep talking about is in Christ alone.

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3

The “love” that I keep talking about, that I can’t stop thinking about, that allows me to breathe each day knowing that I’ve been forgiven and I am no longer walking in shame, only comes through Christ.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

So…love. Such an easy word to say, yet said so often without the understanding of truth. True love has been given to us through Christ. Can you even begin to wrap your mind around that?

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:24-25)

We are not a mistake! Love rescues us from ourselves and allows us to live. So when I say I want to bring the love of Christ to others, I am simply saying that I pray that God would use me to bring his truth. Every single life matters, and I never want to look into the eyes of another who is dying in front of me, and say that I did not love. My gift of life is not my own but has been given to me with a purpose. That purpose is to forever walk unashamed, to joyfully proclaim the love of Christ and his saving grace, to love in a manner that glorifies God’s holy name, and to step back and let God love through me.

So…Love. What is it? I honestly don’t have a perfect definition, and I doubt I ever will until I reach the gates of Heaven. But what I do know is that love is true, it is eternal, it is sacrificial, it is forgiving, it gives us purpose, it holds us tight, it teaches and guides us, and ultimately it is God. Love, in Christ alone, will forever change lives, and this is a beautiful thing! EVERY LIFE MATTERS and this is why I live. My purpose is to live in love so that everyone I meet along the way might meet Him. Is this easy? No. But I will keep praying that God’s love will continue to change me, so that I will not fail to bring glory to His precious name. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I love you!