What Is Love?
Updated: Feb 1
February has become known as the month of love. Everywhere you look you can see hearts, cards, and chocolate candy. The Thomas Nelson Study Bible in its notes on love points out that “from the beginning of time, poets and musicians have put their pens to parchment in an effort to describe the power, the passion, the mystery of love. However, we must recognize that most of them are writing from a human point of view. Therefore, they never fully convey the truth about love.”
Also, we must recognize that our society is so broken today. Commitment means very little. Armed with this knowledge, we realize that many people grow up in homes where love was never really understood. Therefore, they do not understand what love is. Consequently, many people wonder what love is, and what God has to say about it.
Christians do not have to wonder what love is, nor do we have to wonder what God has to say about it. He clearly defined love for us in His holy Word, the Bible. Furthermore, He demonstrated love in the incarnation and on the cross.
In this writing, we are going to briefly look at how God defined love for us in His Word, found in 1 Corinthians chapter thirteen. No other writer has ever, or ever will, match this holy description of love. Since God is the creator of love, He knows best how to describe this powerful thing called, love.
Since God is the creator of love, He knows best how to describe this powerful thing called, love.
First, let us understand what love is not. Sometimes the best way to learn what something is, is to learn what something is not. John & Diane Hagee pointed out in their book, “What Every Man Wants in a Women & What Every Woman Wants in a Man”, what love is not. Love is not an emotion. Your emotions are primarily based on stimuli, circumstances and your responses to them. Therefore, your emotions will change when new stimuli or circumstances are presented. Love is not an emotion, although you feel intense emotions when you truly love. Love is not what you feel. It is what you do. Works, not words are proof of your love. In other words, whether you feel “in love” or not, you choose to love someone and you choose to do what is best for them. Love is a conscious decision and effort made with or without the “feeling” of love. Love is certainly not lust. Lust in this context is defined as the urge to fulfill a sexual desire due to a hormonal response.
So, we have learned what love is not. Now, let us learn what love is by reading God’s definition of love. God’s definition of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 - “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.”
Love is a choice. We choose to love our spouse whether we “feel” in love or not. Love is not an emotion, a feeling, or lust. It is a choice and the matter of the will. It is something we choose to do, and it is something we choose to freely give.
This type of love was clearly demonstrated by God. He chose to love us. He chose to come to this earth in the form of man, in the Person of Christ, God incarnate. He chose to die on the cross for those whom He chose to love in a unique, salvific way. “Because God first loved us, we love Him”. Because He loves us, we have the ability to truly love others.