Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Love Never Fails

In beginning a journey to understand what love truly is, I started the same place that many people would. In fact, there are three common places that people look to help them figure out what something is: 1) the dictionary, 2) the thesaurus, and 3) Google.

Miriam Webster says love can be either a noun or a verb (meaning, it can be a thing or an action). Defined as a noun Webster says the following:
  • strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> 
  • attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers 
  • affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates> 
  • warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea>
  • the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration <baseball was his first love> 

As a verb or action, Webster defines love the following way:
  • to hold dear : cherish
  • to feel a lover's passion, devotion, or tenderness for 
  • to like or desire actively : take pleasure in <loved to play the violin>
  • to thrive in <the rose loves sunlight>

Using a thesaurus to find other words for love (synonyms) you find:
  • Affection
  • Attachment
  • Devotedness
  • Devotion
  • Fondness
  • Passion

All of this really describes the feelings and emotions associated with love. It doesn’t really tell me what love is. I mean, what love really is. So, I keep looking.

1 Corinthians 13 is affectionately known by many as the love chapter. It is an entire chapter of the Bible devoted to describing the characteristics and importance of love as it relates to Christian living. In this chapter Paul is relaying to the church at Corinth that no matter how many spiritual gifts (spoken of in Chapter 12) that you possess or how great they are in their manifestation, they mean nothing if you don't have true Agape love in operation in your life.

Agape love refers to a type of love that no matter what, always seeks the good of others. It asks nothing in return of the person it was given to. To love someone with agape love is a matter of choice, not of emotion. It loves another whether you receive love in return or not.

This type of love is foreign to the world. Look at the definitions in Webster. They are all based around how someone else makes us feel, not how we treat another person. We are taught by society that we should love those who prove themselves lovable. We are brought up to critique the actions of others and to set boundaries and enforce consequences when those actions prove less than acceptable. This applies to all relationships but is especially true in marriage.

Women, more than men, seem to be encouraged to hold their spouses to a high standard and then leave them when they fall short. Our world has created a system for marriage that is easy come, easy go. In Arkansas, it takes about $50 to get a marriage license. What does it take to get a divorce?

One day I was in the office supply area of Wal-Mart looking for something and on the bottom shelf I noticed a "do it yourself divorce kit". It cost about $25. I am sure you would have to pay a filing fee to file the paperwork, but the point is it possibly wouldn't take much if both parties agreed and had no issues of property or custody to work out.

This thought process is completely opposite of the biblical teachings of agape love, which I will continue to delve into in future posts. 1 Corinthians 13 has challenged me lately. I have found myself reading, "Love endures all things" and saying, "even this, God?” I can name many situations in life when the world would say, "this is too much, just walk away" or “Why would you put up with this, they aren’t worth it”. God keeps saying to me, "Love never fails".

In taking this journey of discovering what true love is, I'm starting with the encouragement that "Love Never Fails". I’m not talking about the world’s definition of love; I’m talking about the love of Jesus in your life and through your life. If you are going through an "even this?" type of situation, hang with me a bit and see where this journey goes! I cannot promise you that life will be a bed of roses, but I can promise you that Gods way is best and His love will not fail you.

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