Posted by: Josh Larrabee
Focus Verse: “So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13
As the years have passed, the word “love” has become more and more ambiguous. Our culture has overused and misunderstood the word so much that no one is really sure what it means anymore. For example, I love music and coffee and books and The Holy Donut. I also love my dog. I love my friends and I love my family. I really love the Harry Potter books. And I really really love Jesus. I hope you can see where I’m going with this. Love is not so cut and dry anymore. There is a hierarchy of love that has been established by culture. Maybe that’s the reason the divorce rate is at 50 percent. The phrase “Love Wins” and all its iterations becomes problematic. What level of love wins? My love of The Holy Donut wins over my taste buds but not my waistline. My love of coffee is a win in the morning, but by my fifth cup of the day, my heart isn’t so sure about that. And then there’s entertainment which can’t be sufficiently commented on in three paragraphs. I will say this though, if Rose truly loved Jack in the movie Titanic, she would have pulled him out of the Atlantic; there was more than enough room on that piece of wood for the two of them. But I digress. Thankfully, there is a simple explanation of what love is, though it is not always easy to demonstrate.
Jesus tells his disciples in John 15:12-13, “So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends.” 1 John 4:7 says, “Those who are loved by God, let his love continually pour from you to one another, because God is love.” From these verses, we can definitively gather what true love is and looks like and it is very different from most of the examples above. In the second passage, we see that God is love and he demonstrated his love to us through Jesus, by sending him to the cross as the perfect sacrifice for our sins so that we would not have to endure eternal punishment. It is that example of love and sacrifice that we are called to emulate in the relationships we hold, not a half-hearted, fleeting emotional buzz that wears off as the person walks away.
The biblical scholar Warren Wiersbe says, “The proof of our love is not in our feelings but in our actions, even to the extent of laying down our lives for Christ and for one another.” Love is more often described as an emotion than an action, but the actions that demonstrate our love display the true meaning of the word. Jesus said a lot of things about his love in correlation to his death and resurrection. If all he did was talk though, what kind of love would that have been? It would have been theoretical instead of practical, and theoretical love is no love at all. Will I continue to declare unabashed love for the Harry Potter series? You bet I will. Is it true love? Not even close. Love won on a cross on the side of a hill two thousand years ago in the ultimate act of sacrifice. With that as our example, let us show our love to others before we speak of our love, for as the old adage goes, “actions speak louder than words.”
Scripture Meditations for this week:
Want to grow more? Check out the additional resources below: