'Tis the Season of friends, family, and love. Every year rolls around and we all wonder what we want for Christmas and we will give to those we love. This year, I have asked myself, if I could only receieve and give one gift this coming year what would it be? Here is my answer.
I would wish that 2020 become a year that you discover more joy, more peace, and more love than you have ever known. I wish an outpouring of love upon the entire world.
To discover love though, we must first comprehend love. Thus, I begin today's blog with this question: "What is love?"
Jesus said that the greatest commandments are to love: love God and love others as yourself.
But, what does it mean to love? What does love look like? How does love act?
Love is Adoration
Love at it's very core is adoration. When you fall in love with someone, you fall for them because you find them adorable: either physically, emotionally, intellectually, and/or spiritually. When you genuinely love somone, you don't fall in love with them only becasue you find them attractive. That is shallow love, if love at all. If your love is genuine, you fall for someone because you find them smart, funny, loyal, kind, etc., and attractive. When you fall in love, it's because you find many of their qualities irresistable and ultimately adorable.
Adoration is the quality of having our heart and eyes fixed upon another whom we deem worthy of our affections. For a person to have worth or 'be worthy,' it has little to do with one's bank account, and everything to do with one's character. God defines worth by the quality of our character. Ultimately, love has less to do with external looks and more to do with heart, and the quality of our character.
Love is Emmulation.
Love is also emmulation or immitation. Emmulation is a natural byproduct of adoration. We tend to emmulate and immitate that which we love and adore, however emmulation in and of itself is not love. Emmulation is merely that, immitation. Immiation is not love, because love is not defined simply by emmulation but rather by character. Let me give an example.
If you love someone and they stray into sin, should you too emmulate their behavior because you love them? An extreme example of this would be to say that to love a rapist, you should immiate a rapist. This is where the analogy completely breaks down. Therefore, emmulation in and of itself is NOT love.
Here though is where emmulation IS love. The Bible says that God is love. Therefore, if you love God, you emmulate God. You can emmulate others too, but only when they are leading you to love God and walk closer to His light. Therefore, to emmulate another's sin is also sin. This is why emmulation in and of itself is not love. Love immates the light. The light always immitates that which is right.
Love is Having Godly Character
Love at its very core is truthful. Jesus claimed that He is 'the way, the truth, and the life.' In a world of lies and liars, love is true. In a world that creates false public images, love is not concerned with perception but rather with honesty. The deepest and most sincere love is to expose your genuine self to another and be loved in spite of your past sin and mistakes. Love does not applaud evil...rather loves applauds righteousness (right thoughts and actions.) Love, loves the truth.
Love is pure. Pure love keeps no secrets from each other. Pure love has no hidden agendas and no ulterior motives. Love does not use another to 'get somewhere.' Love has genuinely good motives. Good motives are simply helping others regarldless of how it benefits us. True love is pure love.
Love is patient. Love is not in a rush. Love is not a sprint but rather a marathon. Lust on the other hand is in a hurry. Lust is concerned about getting satisfaction, now. Lust is about 'what can I get to make me feel better.' Love is 'what can I give to make you feel better.' Love is about long term delayed gratification in an effort to benefit another. Thus, love is patient.
Love is kind. Kindness is the quality of always being nice. Love is NOT rude or mean. Love is not abusive verbally or physically. Love is kind in both your private life and your public life. Love is tender. Love has manners towards others. Love respects others and their feelings. Love protects. Love is kind.
Love is generous. Love does not use others. Love gives to others with pure intent. Love seeks for opportunities to selflessly help others. Love gives unconditionally. Lust is about getting, usuing, and taking. Love is about giving, giving, giving. Love constantly searches for opportunities to give to the needs of others. Love is generous.
Love keeps no 'wrong records.' When you love someone, you don't record their mistakes and play them back. Love is like the eraser and a dry erase board. Love erases the mistakes. Love covers (hides) a multitude of sins. Love overlooks the worst. Love sees the best. When one stumbles and falls, love gives grace. Ultimately, love forgives.
Love sings your praises. Love doesn not sing your defeats of weaknesses. Love looks for oppotunities to praise your strengths and accomplishments. Love sees your weaknesses but chooses not to camp there. Love camps on your strengths. Therefore, love is encouraging and motivating. Love cheers your victories. Love routes for you and inspires you to become your best.
Love is selfless. Love has it's eye, not upon itself, but upon another. Pride is concerend about oneself. Pride is concerned with how people view them. Love is concerned with how people view the one they love. A person who loves God is concerned with accurately portraying His image to the world. Love is concerened with maintaining the reputation of another, thus love is selfless.
Love is also dependable. When love makes a promise, love keeps a promise. Always. Being dependable is the quality of keeping your promises. You make a commitment, you keep a commitment. Love can be counted upon. When you love another, they know that you can be counted upon to do what you promise and thus you are always dependable.
Love is loyal. Loyaty is the quality of never cheating. Loyalty and dependability are siblings. Genuine loyalty stretches into many areas, but includes heart, mind, body, and soul. When you are loyal, the other person knows that you are dependable to always be faithful. They know that they don't need to spy on you because they know you to always be true to them and them only. Loyalty builds deep and lasting security in a relationship.
The Answer? Become Love
There are many other character qualities that help us to define love. These are some of the most important. There is a saying that you have probably heard: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." What this means is if you want more love, become love. Focus upon becoming these qualities for another and your actions and character will naturally attract someone just like you. Therefore, in 2020, if you want more love, become love.