Our society has love all wrong. In modern times love is often expressed in terms of praise for physical beauty or some personal attribute. In other circles it is defined as a “force” that keeps the universe in balance. I’m sure you could look around and define love in many different ways. Some of those definitions are wonderful and some of them are not so great.
Yet, love is important. The Bible says that it is even more important than faith and hope. Perhaps because faith in God and hope toward God must be rooted in love from God. In fact, it is God’s display of love toward humanity that is to shape our love toward one another. That love is best displayed by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, coming on a rescue mission to Earth. He came to rescue us from walking away from a the ultimate relationship we were created to enjoy, a relationship with God where we could know Him and share in His love.
How would I define love, then? I believe it is a commitment to serve. Maybe that sounds kind of dull and boring to you, but there is more there than meets the eye. The Bible uses words like covenant or promise to describe commitment. Love’s commitment is sacred and long-term. It is not wavering and it is constantly consistent. The other important word there is serve and I use it to remind us that we are are to regularly put others above ourselves. We are to look toward the good of others before we look for the benefit to ourselves. That’s hard to do. It’s especially difficult if we aren’t committed to the other person or persons.
Hopefully, this definition moves us in an entirely different direction. This definition of love calls us to focus on the other person, and their good, with abandon to our own good. The definitions I used in the beginning are ruled by what is pleasing to our eye or what will bring us the greatest benefit. See the difference? Many times real love costs us dearly because it demands that we make personal sacrifices for the good of others. Real love is indeed a commitment to serve.
Whether you agree or not I hope you will at least consider your own definition of love. Is its primary motive is to see what you might receive from others or what you can share with others as you genuinely serve them?