How We Know Love

I am going to do my very best to keep this post oh so simple---because what I’m about to write about really is oh so very, very simple! I know that sometimes I tend to get flowery with my words, but not this time.

This is the simplest, most beautiful thing and it absolutely does not need my fancy flower words to enhance it in the least.

God is love.
It’s probably one of the shortest most succinct phrases in the Bible and also one that holds the most meaning--especially for us. And I think it’s so, extra important to pay attention to the grammar in the phrase, because it’s everything. Absolutely everything.

It does not say, God is lovING. It does not say that God loves or loved. There are endless descriptions of God’s character in Scripture. That He is kind and just and wise. He is eternal and He is omnipresent and He is faithful. The thing is, all of those words are descriptive, they are adjectives. They are attributes about Him.

But love--love is a noun. Love is a whole big, beautiful thing. The word--the noun--LOVE--is interchangeable with the word--the noun--God.

It’s a phrase we say often in Christian culture. It’s second nature to us. I only hope we haven’t forgotten or lost how very magnificent it is. That it should be our very center.

It is, after all, how we know love at all.

Consider this. If God calls Himself love, ---if the nouns are interchangeable--then the only way we are able to know anything about love at all is to know God and the only way we can know anything about God is to know love. We cannot have one without the other, and to convince ourselves that we can is to know a false sense of these things. God literally identifies Himself with this noun….many other adjectives….but only this noun. Love is what He wants to be known as and He is what He wants love to be known as. He is making it impossible for them to exist separately. He--God Himself--gives the very definition to the word love. And love is the very thing that defines God. All of those other adjectives and attributes simply flow out of this identity.

It’s very possible that I’m not doing this justice, so as promised, I’ll let God Himself do the talking:

From 1 John 4:
The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God….

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.

We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.”

What I’m trying to say is this---the word love did not--cannot--exist apart from God. It was/is nothing without Him. Everything we know or think we know about love flows down from Him. He is the very definition of the term.

Unfortunately, we chose a world and a life without Him and His perfect love. We chose sin and ever since we are imperfect creatures attempting to live up to His perfection that He wanted to put in us all along. Ever since we walked away we’ve been trying to get back there. We’ve been striving for that world He wanted for us and miserably failing in our humanity all the while--settling for twisted and distorted and diluted versions of what He intended---especially of love.

Unfortunately some of the most awful hurt in this world has been done in the name of “love.” Victims of wars and abuse and abandonment and rejection all of someone who “loved” them---you--me.

Hear me sister, THIS IS NOT LOVE. Love has lost it’s true meaning the more that we’ve allowed it to exist apart from its Creator. Love has been watered down and mixed in with our evil and perverted ways. Satan has taken the very thing that defines God and twisted its truth. He does this so that as our view of love becomes distorted and our relationship to it distrusting and estranged, so does our view of and our relationship with God. It’s all a part of his master plan to separate us from Him for good.

We cannot allow it. But how do we fight it? How can we possibly stop it as long as we are human?

By reminding ourselves and each other endlessly of what love is and by default who God is and believing these truths over the lies that constantly surround us and threaten to overtake our truth--our center.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
I Corinthians 13

“But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” Romans 5:8

This is love. This is God. This is how we know love. 

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