By Ricky Chelette
“Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV)
I want to live this verse out in my life, don’t you? I want people to know I deeply love them, care for them, and desire to see them thrive.
The problem is, however, that few in our world have a real definition for love. The group Foreigner made famous the lyrics, “I want to know love is. I want you to show me.” The lyricist is on to something that points to the real meaning of love. Love is not merely or simply a feeling. Love is an action.
Love as an action is very confusing for moderns. We live in a world that considers love that which brings the highest level of pleasure or happiness to me. When love’s center is me, it can never really be love at all, but a veiled form of self-deception and ultimate selfishness. This kind of love originates from within me and has no objective reality outside itself from which to gain evaluation or direction.
Jesus said, ” greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” And then demonstrated that love by dying on the cross for the redemption of man. Jesus demonstrated a new kind of love – self-sacrificing love. A love that seeks to give rather than get. A love that considers others more highly than ones’ self.
Love is sacrificial — doing what is best for others without regard for what we get out of it. This kind of real love originates from a God who first loved us so much that He gave His only son (John 3:16). If love originates in me, then it is subject to the sinful desires which emanate from my fallen, corrupted nature (Romans 5:12,19). If it originates from a holy and loving God who demonstrated His love for us, we have a hope for something wonderful and beautiful.
Encouraging people to live into their personal pleasures is not real love, it’s a lie. In verse 13 of 1 Corinthians 16, Paul writes, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith…” we don’t love by abandoning the teachings of the One who is love, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We do the most loving thing when we consistently point people to the Truth of God’s revelation revealed in His Word and live that truth out in our daily lives.
As the world stands by and watches others heading down a path the Bible clearly outlines as destructive, Christians have an obligation to not only speak out, but help out, extending a hand and heart for the hope that is only found in the liberating truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Does the way you love and live point people to be more like Jesus? If it doesn’t, you might want to use another term for what you do. It’s not love. Does the way you live invite others to share in community with you; community that is most fully realized in a shared celebration and appreciation of the author of Love, God Himself? May we be found as people who truly LOVE in all we do!