Love: A Four-Letter Word

Love is a 4-letter word. A word that seems to cause so much trouble should be, I guess. I wish there was another word we could use to describe the difference between what a Christ-centered love is and what the world has confused love to be. But, we seem to interchange them so often. Our modern culture pays such little respect to such a powerful word. We put it on bumper stickers and sell it in gas stations. The word sticks to the roofs of our mouths and we use it readily when talking about the most mediocre things like a cute t-shirt or the perfect fitting pair of jeans. Or, heck, I’ll even say it when it comes to a salted covered dark chocolate caramel (honestly, I really do think I love those…oh, geez). We’ve made it plastic, sterile and insincere. We’ve cheapened it in our search to commercialize on the way it feels. Love isn’t a feeling, it’s a choice. In it’s overuse, we tend to forget the reverence the word contains. The very power that lies beneath the surface of its one small syllable…within its heartbeat.

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

 Love, at it purest sense, is the greatest gift that we have on this planet. It’s the center of who we are as a human race.

 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” Mark 12:3—31

This is it…the purpose of life right here. It has everything to do with love. The profound intimate connection to the Father, allows us to fully love one another heart and soul. The see each other…really see someone else. The same love that has the power to heal the broken, raise the dead and save the world lives within us. You and me. Marinate in that realization for just a minute. Turn off the distractions and remember that the most significant love that ever existed is alive and as real as it was since the beginning of time when the earth was in its infancy.

Somehow we’ve lost sight of the diamond and started craving the glass. We bought into the lie that love is squishy and sweet. We feel like its supposed to be romantic; make us feel good. We search for it to quench a thirst for acceptance and meaning.  We scramble to find our love where we can get it fastest. But, you can’t get love in a drive through. Love won’t be sold at a discounted price at Wal-Mart. That type of troublemaking love is dangerous because we are chasing a desperate  feeling trying to fill hollow pieces of our hearts.

Webster’s dictionary sums up love just as coldly as I would expect. It reads: strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (this is the first definition offered, but trust me, the rest leave you just as disappointed). Ahhh…true poetry (insert sarcasm). Y’all, that doesn’t make my toes curl. Not even close. That’s love without Christ. It’s empty, impersonal…dead. But, it’s the best that our humanness can offer apart from Him.

Want to hear words that will make your heart flutter? Want to know love that’s real and destined for amazingness? Take the Bible’s definitions of love:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 16-18.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:18-19.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Friends, what the world has to offer is some cheap watered down version of love. Why, oh goodness, WHY do we continually look to it to give us fulfillment and purpose. It can’t do it. It would be like washing your clothes in a mud pit. The more you wash, the dirtier they get because you don’t have the cleansing effects of pure water. The world’s love is incapable because it lacks the main ingredient….Christ.

There is no need to look for love, you ARE loved. (See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1)

There is no need to go searching when everything you crave is within your reach. (But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8)

There is no need to question your worth, because you were already worthy enough for Him to die for you. (Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1)

Love is earth shaking, heart changing, mind blowing, bone cutting, soul piercingly beautiful. It has stood the test of time, and continues to be born each day. It forgives all things. Love can take any hot mess and make it in to opportunity to glorify Heaven. It has power in its name…Jesus.

Originally written for What Love Has Done


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