What is True Love
and How Do you Know When you have Found it?
As the 'day of love' (Valentine's day) is so near, it's time again
to think and feel love in our hearts. For many people, love remains
limited to their emotional feelings and romantic adventures. Here's
a wonderful passage on what love really is:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It
does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record
of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails."
I Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)
This verse describes the characteristics of true love. These qualities
rarely seen in the modern definition of love. (But these are what
we find in the person of Jesus Christ, and they can be found in all
truly loving relationships).
The problem with trying to "find" love in our dating lives, is that
too often we don't look for these characteristics. Rather we look
at physical appearance, popularity, or wealth. These are not the qualities
that God looks at and neither should we.
"But the LORD said to Samuel, '...The LORD
does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward
appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'" I Samuel 16:7b (NIV)
Love is best seen as devotion and action, not an emotion.
Love is not exclusively based on how we feel. Certainly our emotions
are involved, but they cannot be our only criteria for love. True
devotion will always lead to action - true love.
"Dear children, let us not love with words
or tongue but with ACTIONS and in truth." I John 3:18 (NIV)
Christ was devoted to us enough to give his own life for us (Romans
5:8), even when he didn't feel like it (Matthew 26:39).
Sex is not love! Our culture has taught us that sex and love
are one and the same. This is a lie. Sex is a beautiful God-given
activity that is wonderful when practiced within the boundaries of
a Biblical marriage. Sex is the completion of the binding of
two people within Biblical marriage; it is a God-given gift. PRE-MARITAL
SEX: Because premarital sex is not love, it only leads to pain
and disappointment for those who are seeking that love. The Bible
says that when two people are married, they become one flesh (Ephesians
5:31). Sex is consummation of that union. When two people break off
their relationship after having sex, it is like ripping apart flesh.
This is why two teenagers will struggle so much and become so dependent
on those they give their bodies to. In light of I Corinthians 13:4-8
(above), it is easy to see that premarital sex is not patient, it
is not kind, it does not protect, it is self-seeking. It is not love!
IDENTIFYING TRUE LOVE: We can
only identify true love and know when we have found it, based on the
Word of God. When we match our relationships up to what the Bible
says that love is -- and we are honestly prepared to make a life-long
commitment to that person -- then we can say that we are truly "in
love." The three keys to that statement are:
We have to...
1) look at what the Word of God says
2) be completely honest with ourselves
3) understand the level of commitment that comes with true love
*************************Letter # 6 (9.2.2003)******************