Are you dreaming of hearts, roses, chocolates and romance?
Or maybe you’re contemplating the aspects of love described in books like The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis, or my personal favorite Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen.
What, exactly, is love?
John, the apostle closest to Jesus, tells us God is love (1 John 4:8).
"In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us" (I John 4:10-12 ESV).
John wrote these words at the end of his life - after walking with Jesus and witnessing his miracles, transfiguration, death, resurrection and ascension, as well as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He wants to make sure we understand how the love of our triune God works.
I love the mystery of God’s abiding love being “perfected” (the NIV uses “completed”) in us “if” we love one another.
Have you ever thought of yourself as a conduit of God’s love to others? Here’s how that worked in one situation:
Best friends, soldiers in the same platoon, found themselves under heavy enemy fire and the order of retreat resounded from the commander. Once back in the fox hole, one realized the other was not there and must be down. He immediately prepared to go back into the active battlefield to rescue him. The commander tried to stop him, strongly condemning the risk, but the soldier would not be deterred.
He returned with the limp, dead body of his friend slung over his shoulder. The commander chastised him for the foolish risk and waste of time going after a dead man. But the soldier said triumphantly, “No, sir. You see, I got there just in time! Before he died, his last words were, ‘I knew you would come.’”
Love, in the context of God’s will, keeps moving forward through his beloved; its fullest expression is rarely the easiest path, but his glorious presence is always sure.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” –1 John 4:7-8
Written by Lynn Hendricks, impact investing & resource development manager for Buckner International.