By Chaplain Jeremy Carr
I am a sucker for a good love story. Whether the story is told through literature or sung through song, acted on stage or portrayed on screen – a good love story will move me to tears, especially if it’s a musical. Since the release of La La Land, it has become a common occurrence for me to crank up the soundtrack and sing along (and maybe cry a little too).
Our culture is obsessed with love. It screams at us that to “be in love” is the greatest of human experiences, yet the love our culture teaches is one based on attraction to likeness – meaning, “there’s something about you that is a bit like me, therefore, I love you.” This is the greatest form of idolatry: love based on self needs. Even in Christian circles we often neglect the command of Jesus to love one another (John 13:34-35) by forgetting that the love Christ commands is unconditional.
The Bible teaches us that true love is drastically different than the love we are taught in our culture. Love is at the root of the Christian faith, in belief and action. The Bible teaches us much about true love, and here are just a few observations.
First, God is love (1 John 4:8). Love is not a mere emotion or even a simple action of God. It is in God’s nature to love. God is love.
Second, God shows His love by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sin (John 3:16). God displays his love by giving his son for our salvation.
Third, because we bear the image of God, and in Christ have been redeemed, we are to:
- Love God (Matt. 22:37-40)
- Love our neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40)
- Love family (Eph. 5)
- Love other believers (Gal. 6:10)
- Love enemies (Matt. 5:43-48)
Fourth, we are to abide in His love (1 John 3:23-24). Our ongoing faith and obedience is inextricably tied to the love of God. We experience His love together as we gather to worship, meet in community, grow in discipleship, and serve the world around us.
How does this good news impact your understanding of love? How does this good news shape your understanding of God? How does this good news influence the way you show love to others?
As we reflect on the love of God, may we grow in faith and be propelled to action knowing that we are loved by God so that we may truly love each other.