What Is Love?

Yesterday was St Valentine’s Day. All the nation, and many parts of the world, celebrated a day of “love.” I put that into quotations because love is the word which was chosen to represent the feeling of the day. That is to say that someone looks upon you in a light differently than any other, or that you look upon someone else this way. Either way, this type of “love” is more akin to lust, in most cases.

And yet, the world does not understand lust. The world looks upon the word lust as though it were some sort of vile thing belonging only to perverted minded men seeking to hook up with girls decades younger then they. But, the truth is, lust is much more broadly encompassing and subtle than that. Lust is desiring after something in an unhealthy manner. We simply associate it amongst one another. Because this is a subject that can be overwhelming to comprehend, let’s simply look at that aspect of lust alone, as it applies to how we view one another.

When we look upon another and enter into something more than just looking, even just taking a second glance, we can easily enter into lusting after them. To look is one thing, but when we take that next step, just the little thought that dwells on the other person even without looking again, we are lusting. The image that we look upon in our own mind is us, in action, looking a second time. While we dwell upon our thoughts, our flesh begins to turn that into desire, if not for that person, than one the like of that person. Think about what Jesus said, and perhaps this will make a little more sense.

“”But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:28

Now, we understand that no physical activity has taken place in this particular adulterous escapade, but God says it is adultery nonetheless. If that be the case, then how do we come to the lust in the first place? It is the looking again. If we knowingly look upon another with the intent of focusing on the physical, or the sexual, we are lusting. As an example, we simply open a Playboy magazine. We know what the content is, even if we haven’t looked upon the particular women within for a first time. We are looking upon them with the intent of lust. The same is true of a movie, a television program, or even the album cover of an artist. If we know the particular content of the movie/program/photo and we choose to allow our eyes to gaze upon it anyway, then we are looking with intent.

That is the essence of lust. We focus on the flesh with a particular intent. This is what the world knows as “love.” It is why the Kardashians are famous. It is why the majority of pop music is filled with attractive young artists. It is why the film industry is dominated by beautiful actors. The world does not know what real love is. Real love is sacrificial. It is why men are to love their wives like Jesus loves the church.

Real love looks like a Man, nailed to a cross to die. Real love looks like a King taking off His robes to wash the feet of His friends. Real love looks like a gentle kiss of life giving breath placed upon a carefully formed piece of miry clay, molded into the image of God. Real love not only looks like all of these things, but real love looks like God, because God is love.

“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16

So, next Valentine’s Day… scratch that… today, and every day hereafter, let us remember what love truly is. Love is sacrifice. Love is giving. It is not taking. It does not use nor abuse. It does not ask for itself.

“Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a