Christian Living

Spiritual Life

All You Need is Love

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

I have been struggling for the better part of two months with something commonly known as writer’s block. This is not a welcome condition for someone who makes their living by shaping thoughts into words and then into stories that hopefully speak to people’s hearts. Lately, I have had to literally battle myself to sit at a keyboard. It is a fear of failure I guess.

Without a clear diagnosis to my problem it is difficult to find a remedy. Many people close to me have suggested that I just write about whatever is on my heart. Therein lays the problem. What I have on my heart is such a broad topic that I don’t know where to begin. In fact, I don’t know if I completely understand it, or ever will for that matter. The topic is love. That’s right, L-O-V-E.

I truly believe that love is one of the most misunderstood emotions that God has blessed us with. That is hard to fathom considering we cannot seem to go more than five minutes without hearing a song on the radio that delves into the many different attributes of love. “All You Need is Love”, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”, and “You Give Good Love” quickly come to mind. Every songwriter seems to have an opinion on it.

So do writers. Scores of books have been written about the topic, from “self-help” to “how to” to the scientific nature of it.

But what is it about love that can pull people closer together, drive them further apart, and even motivate someone to do something they would not normally do?

According to acclaimed love doctor Gary Chapman, love is a language that can be spoken from husband to wife, parent to child, or friend to friend. In other words, to love others is to understand what it is that makes them feel loved and then demonstrate that action to them as an offering.

For example, my wife feels more loved by me when I perform acts of service for her. I could shower her with the finest jewelry in the world or whisper words of sweet affirmation in her ear until I am blue in the face and it just wouldn’t matter. But if I fire up the vacuum cleaner or wash the dishes on a regular basis she would bow down before me in reverential glee.

Love is everywhere. A quick Google search reveals more than 1.7 billion Web sites related to love, with the top search being for something called the “Love Calculator”. Essentially, the love calculator figures out the probability of a successful relationship between two people based on the spelling of their first and last names. This device is cute and clever but is a far cry from finding the essence of true love.

To understand true love, we must experience it; and only the Spirit of God in us can produce the quality of love that endures, is unconditional, and endless.

In I Corinthians 13:4-8, Paul so eloquently writes, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

In this passage of Scripture we find that love is based on self-sacrifice. It is a deliberate kindness that extends even to enemies. We also find that love should be the highest motivator in all decision making. Love is an opportunity for us to show our true character, what it is that sets us apart from others. The more we give of ourselves in love, the better we feel about ourselves.*

We also find through Scripture that God commands us to love our neighbors. In Matthew 22:37-39 it is written, “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with your entire mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

In this case, we find that loving our neighbor as we love ourselves can make the harsh realities of daily living fade into the warm fuzzies. We choose to love God and our neighbors because of our desire to please Him. True love is only possible because God is in us. And as we have learned since we were small children, God is love.*

Last year, I wrote a column called “Ten Items or Less”. In it, I shared my frustration about people who get into the Ten Items or Less line with double and sometimes triple the amount of items the aisle permits. Apparently some folks felt I was rather mean spirited and rather smug in how I remedied the dilemma I found myself in. Upon further review, I must admit that I likely took the wrong approach. What I discovered parallels nicely with today’s topic. As Christians, we must always love those who hurt us.

Jesus said in Luke 6:27-28, “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you and pray for those who spitefully use you.”

We are to always treat others fairly and with kindness, not sparing the justice we ourselves wish to be shown. When we are mistreated by others we should always react with positive behavior rather than determining right from wrong with our own emotions and feelings. We must always exchange hate for love.*

Since the beginning of time mankind has always been searching for love, sometimes in all the wrong places. The meaning of love is different to every person. For some, love is found through tangible, practical means. Others find love to be mysterious, elusive, never quite living up to expectations. There are even a few who might suggest that love is the lifeblood through which we live. For me, love is much simpler. Love is expressed from the Father to a son; a son to his family and friends. But most importantly, all you need is love.

* Portions contained within this article from the Transformer Study Bible.

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