You are Love;
You are Light;
You are Living water.
You are the giver of Life.
You never Leave us nor forsake us.
You are the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
You Laugh at those who set themselves against you, thinking they can defeat you (from Psalm 2:1-4). Your Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path.
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12)
The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Ps. 23:1-4)
The most talked-about subject throughout history, the word love has many meanings, some false. One dictionary states love’s preferred meaning as “strong affection for or attachment or devotion to a person or persons.” We rather like that definition, although an English professor defined love as “seeking the highest spiritual good for the beloved and acting accordingly.” That one might be even better.
Media portrayals of love range from heroic tales of sacrifice and courage (would that there were more of these) to prurient scenarios that debase both the doer and the observer.
The Bible mentions love more than 500 times, defining it more by its manifestation than by a description of the emotion. Jesus elevated the term to being the very proof of one’s relationship with him when he said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35 NASB).
Often, we say the word, we feel the feeling, but we fail to put the words and feelings into observable actions. We’re not always patient, kind, humble, appropriate, unselfish, unprovoked, forgiving, rejoicing with the truth and not with unrighteousness, forbearing, believing, hopeful, enduring and unfailing, as the “love” chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, characterizes love.
And yet we want to be. We want others to know we belong to Jesus because of the way our love shows itself to the world. We long to instill in our loved ones the sure and certain knowledge that we do indeed love them with more than words and gifts at Christmas and birthdays.
Yet with the busyness of life and the demands on our time, we may not love others in the way we want to, at least not consistently. In addition to our hectic pace as a reason, love has a cost—love costs energy, time, effort, comfort, vulnerability, the willingness to be hurt or rejected, and sometimes it costs money. And to top it all off, people can be hard to love, as we forget that we, too, can have our ugly moments.
We can work too much or worry too much or watch TV too much or talk on the phone too much. But we can’t love too much.
Jesus showed us that with his life on earth and by his death on the cross. He was drawn to the poor, the sick, the broken, the sinners. As we try to follow in his steps, may we remember that love is a requirement of his followers.
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How do you define love?
by Barbara Kois
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Barbara Kois is a freelance writer, editor, author coach, and corporate communication consultant. She was born in Mobile, Alabama, and her family moved to Clifton, New Jersey, and then to Illinois while she was growing up. She has three grown children. She has written or co-written eight books.