WHAT IS LOVE: A Many-splendored Thing
Love is a many-splendored thing, actually abut five or so. This is probably where I should start rolling out the several variations of love: romantic, platonic, agape, etc., but I won’t. Maybe I’ll leave that to the experts. Whatever love is, I happen to be interested in the most potent, and profound expression of love. All other expressions of love fall under and within the scope of this larger comprehensive declared love. It is the simplest most elegant expression of love defined: God—God is love, and worketh no ill.
Loving our friends and lovers comes easy, like saying hello to those who say hello to you. How do you love your enemy, and greet the hostile and aloof person. You have to be dead first; that part of you that gets buoyed up by compliments and flatteries won’t allow you to do that. On the question of the “no greater love”, how do you die for your enemies, and them that hate you; well there aren’t many experts on that one, except for he who actually did just that, and came back from the grave to tell us about it.
God is love, and his definition of our love is this: “I can’t tell that you love me except for where you keep my word.” He that has my word, and keeps my word; he it is that loves me. By definition, keeping the word of God, even where it calls for your death, so that the life of Christ can be displayed, is our love to God defined.
In other words……God is love, and by keeping him, you are keeping the constraints that ultimately will define you in the shape and nature of love.
In the beginning was the word, and the word was God, who by definition is love. God is here laying out for us the nuts and bolts of love. If you throw that word around, and don’t understand it, you loose out on what benefit there is in it for your enrichment. Sometimes it’s instructive to inject the definition of love in the place where the word “love” appears in scripture. Take for instance—All things work together for good to them that love me. It kind of sounds a little cliché, and maybe nebulous. You insert the definition and it appears to have a more focused meaning. All things work together for good to them that “receive and keep my word”.
Where issues of love is concerned, some people’s go-to plan for avoidance is…I have to pray about it. That assumes some form of communication with God. Love id something that is worked out between people, and God is the umpire. Instead of working out the issues with the persons involved we want to go to the umpire whose rule we already have on the matter. God says how can you love me who you can’t see if you have trouble loving the people that you can see.