I have love on the brain. Can’t help it… And yesterday I spent some time with a small group of women. We would discuss many topics, one being love…
We sat closely, side-by-side, at a round table. Hundreds of people would pass us while we talked yet the women stayed focused on the conversation.
I know this to be true because it flowed. All the women gave their input or perspectives. All of the women left, hopefully, encouraged and with a desire to fellowship with this small group again.
As the facilitator, I asked the women about their daily relationships with God–what it meant to them, what were the activities they engaged in, the importance of it, etc. Again the conversation flowed and about an hour or so in we hit a long pause as the question… “What is love?”hung in the air.
31 Days of Love
For myself, this 31 Days of Love has left me with more questions than answers. I am glad I selected the topic but honestly I’m at a loss as to where to start because it seems so deep and so wide.
Thus, with the ladies I listened and probed. I did not share my 31 Days of Love challenge nor did I share my research. I found myself inspired and challenge as I listened to their responses.
Today I intend to start at what I can best guess as the beginning. I will attempt to define “love”. Then I will hopefully unpack more as the days and weeks move forward.
I want to make this clear. Ask away if you have a question. It would help me with the pacing of the content. I don’t want to be too heady because I love to research. Yet I don’t want to merely say…love is a feeling and walk away.
There are two passages of scripture which fuel my quest.
And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 22:36-40 ESV (Read in context.)
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1 John 4:16 ESV (Read in context.)
The emphasis added is my own.
I have a few other burning scriptures that aid to my burning question, however, these two were more than enough to start my journey.
These scriptures made me think, in no particular order…
God is love.
We are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind.
We are to love others as we love ourselves.
This is when the burning question surfaced. If I am to love others as I love myself I had to reflect on the manner in which I treat myself.
I talk with many women. Yet in many of these encounters I would question whether they in fact loved themselves. Thus, how would one love someone else in a manner equal to self-love if she does not love herself?
Stated another way, How can I love you if I don’t love myself?
Furthermore, how can I answer this very weighted question without first understanding a foundational starting point…What is love?
Love is defined by Dictionary.com as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person”. This is probably the definition of love that we’re most familiar with and use often.
I love my husband.
I love my children.
I love my best friend.
I love my mother.
As you read “I love you” your mind, will more than likely, consider this affectionate love. I went to the dictionary in my bible and the definition was basically the same. However, I felt a need to dig deeper.
I pulled out my bag of tricks and decided to use this as an opportunity to do what I love…research. Yes, honey, I love to research. Give me a topic and I glow with enthusiasm as I sculpt a literal picture in words. Thus, armed with my basic definitions and burning scriptures I rolled up my sleeves and started this journey of love.
I read and dug and Eerdmans Bible dictionary highlighted something that intrigued me. “In biblical usage the emphasis is on the quality of the relationship.” Thus, Eerdmans is stating a characteristic of love is based on the quality— an essential or distinctive characteristic, property, or attribute–of a relationship.
Quality holds a tangible perspective for me. When we consider the properties or attributes of a thing those which can also be taken in by our five senses. Which removes it from being purely sentimental.
Again…more questions than answers. Armed with the definitions we are on our way but what are we to look toward…our feeling or our actions to evidence our love?
Question: What is love to you…a feeling or an action? Share your response in the comments section.
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Resources. I thought it would be helpful to share my resources. In today’s post I used the following:
- Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
- Life Application Study Bible NIV