One of the most amazing things in life is the world's fascination and obsession with love. It really doesn't make much sense if you look at it objectively. People do all kinds of crazy things for love, yet most have no idea what love is all about. Just imagine some of the crazy, romantic things that will be done this Valentine's Day. People will be buying flowers that last but a few days and writing out cards with often saccharine sentiments that might embarrass many. Once again, all of this is done for something no one can really define or easily understand. And yet, when you stop and think about it most of the things done in life are motivated and explained by love. So, what's love all about?
The reason love is so hard to define and/or understand is because it is a spiritual thing. Love is not primarily about some biological urge to mate. We know this is true because much of the love people enjoy in life is not about sex. Grandparents love grandchildren, grandchildren love grandparents, Christians love other Christians, friends love friends, people love their pets, hobbies and on it goes. Love goes far beyond biology and is much more than a way to keep our species alive. Love is mysterious; love is ultimately a spiritual thing because it always leads to the Lord. Every search for real love must end at the foot of the cross in the arms of the Lord. That is true because only the Lord Himself can define love as He does in I John 4:10,
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Because love is about the Lord, our culture and the world are in a quandary. We all want love, need love, seek after love, but we often can't talk about it because its meaning is rooted in "religion," and heaven knows we don't want to talk about God in our politically correct world. And so, the conspiracy of silence about love continues. We are all wired to need and give love to others by saying "I love you," but we can't seem to do it at times or even ask what love is really about or where it came from in the first place. There are multitudes of unloved people out there that have never had someone tell them in a clear way that they are loved. Sadly, this even happens in families, within marriages and churches. Just imagine living and dying without ever hearing someone express real love to you. No wonder we are having so many problems down here.
Isn't it wonderful to talk about love and know what it is all about? If we really understand love, we know what life is all about? Love is about the Lord. Love is THE thing that defines the life of God and the state of life before the universe was created. The Apostle John spoke of this in I John 4:8 when he stated that, "God is love." What an amazing thought! John did not say that "love is God." Therefore, it must be the Lord who defines love through His very Being and Nature. As human beings, we cannot attempt to define love. Only the Lord can define what love really is and how it is to be understood by the creation. Thankfully, the definition of love does not rest with the latest soap opera or tabloid. The Lord has the final word on this subject!
The Apostle John tells us in I John 4:10 that love's real meaning is tied to the atoning death of Jesus. Hence, the real and lasting standard for love is the cross. The Lord gives us the meaning and mystery of love through the cross. All our attempts to understand love and give it to others must somehow be a reflection of the cross. The cross is where we start our discovery of real love and how to share it with others. If we leave out the Lord and/or the cross, our definition of love will be shallow, perhaps even selfish. The cross brings love to a place where it can be discussed, pondered, expressed and enjoyed. The Lord loves us and gave Himself for us. That is our love story, that is our gospel and that is the good news of our faith. Real love does exist! It is not a byproduct of evolution. It is not something biological or psychological. Real love is a spiritual thing that was in full bloom before the world begin and will continue forever because it is rooted in God's very Being and Nature.
I hope and pray this Valentine's Day that we know that we are loved by the Lord. If we don't have that truth in our hearts and minds, then we have missed the power of the cross and why our Lord came into the world in the first place. God's love is the only love that will last and the only love that can sustain our deepest needs in life. Sadly, there will be many people today that won't get any gifts, flowers or anyone telling them they are loved. But the Lord sends His love to the world every day and that glorious truth is the only reason to be alive today......we are loved by Him. So, let's celebrate that love today and always as Christians and share it with others and pray that they too might come to know the love of God. The Apostle Paul had this very thought in his mind for the church and wrote about it in one of the most eloquent passages in the Bible from Ephesians 3:14-19 where we hear,
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
So, let's go out this Valentine's Day and tell people the Lord loves them if we can do that. Let's let the Lord love others through our lives. That is the only way the church can express the heart of the gospel to the world. The world isn't looking for church gimmicks and programs to present a culturally relevant form of the gospel to people to increase attendance. People's greatest need is to know the real meaning and reality of God's love for us in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross for sin. Real love, in the end is the only thing that changes our lives because it is from heaven and it has lasted from the beginning of time and will never end.
All of us at the Carlson Report send our love to each of you this Valentine's Day. Send your love to someone in your life today,