The Misunderstood Four Letter Word

It is interesting how we throw about words with little or no understanding of what is the real meaning of these syllabic utterances. One such word stands in the forefront of misunderstanding, and that is the word LOVE. We use that word in a shotgun range that takes in everything from materialistic gratification to the expression of intense feelings. We say we love our car, house, electronic gadgets, and any materialistic object that brings satisfaction. We use it in response to invitations of engagement, such as shopping, trips, and socially offered experiences. It is used to express physical intimacy. We use the word to describe reactions to food that electrifies our taste buds. This word is being prostituted to whoever is willing to pay the price of emotional satisfaction. By the modern usage of this word, the true meaning of love has been lost. The Bible is the only "reference" book that correctly defines the true meaning of love. Sadly, the world is becoming less and less exposed to the Word of God. When Christians do not display the Word, the Bible becomes an archaic book of literature to the non-believer. When Believers do not illustrate the Truth, the world will continue to define what it believes is truth.

Believers know what the Bible says, but we tend to read it through filtered lenses. Our acceptance of the Scripture is limited to experiential knowledge and what will fit into our comfort zone. We know what is in the Bible, but applying those verses in our lives is another thing. One case in point is this word LOVE. We know that the Scriptures tells us that we are to love one another, but what does that mean and to what degree is that love to be shown? To gain insight into this Word, let us eavesdrop on what Jesus was sharing with His disciples in the Upper Room on the evening of His betrayal. (John 15:9-14) Jesus shared with them that He loved them as God loved Him. (v.9) Jesus stressed the importance of abiding in His love, and that would be accomplished by doing the things He had taught them. By abiding in His love, through obedience, they would experience the fullness of joy. (v.11) As the Disciples were taking mental notes, Jesus gave them a reality check by commanding them to "... love one another, as I have loved you." (v.12) I imagine they felt they had already achieved that, at least through lip service. But Jesus continued to elevate His teaching by saying that the true testing of love was by the laying down of one's life for his friends. (v.13) In less than 12 hours, Jesus would illustrate the validity of that statement.

The world manufactures a generic love that displays emotions based on self-centeredness and human gratification. This type of love plays on feelings; it is keyed to the five senses. It can be turned on and off at will. This generic love is temporal and sporadic; whereas Divine love is God centered and is motivated by faith. Cosmetic love is selfish; whereas real love desires the well being of others. Worldly love centers on self edification and separation from God; whereas God's love draws man to Himself. Divine love creates human characteristics that are witnessed by the watchful eyes of the world. (I Corinthians 13:4-7) To understand LOVE, we must stand in obedience to His Word. As we act on the Word, it brings us into an abiding relationship with Him. As we fellowship with Him, our joy will be full.

One of Paul's companions, a man named Demas, transferred from Divine love to carnal love when he slipped away from the Lord by falling in love with the world. (II Timothy 4:10) He fell for the counterfeit love which brought him temporary fulfillment. Thankfully, Demas would be drawn back into the fellowship of Believers by God's unfailing love; for Paul would write years later, that Demas was a "fellow laborer" once again. (Philemon v.24) What is LOVE? God is LOVE! (I John 4:8) From where does LOVE come? LOVE is of God! (I John 4:7) When we understand what LOVE is all about, our lives will focus on obedience and abiding with Him. Our joy will be full and our desire will be to serve one another, even to the point of sacrificing our life!

 By Paul W Hoffmaster

Article Source: The Misunderstood Four Letter Word


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