Ask a number of people, “What is love?” Most will be unable to define “love,” even though nearly everyone uses the word virtually every day and often many times a day. Some people will respond with a blank stare, some with a quip (It’s like pornography; I know it when I see it.) Occasionally someone may say that, “The Bible tells you all about love in I Corinthians 13.” True, that passage does list the characteristics of love but, does not define it. Rarely does anyone get it right.
If you talk to any Christian for a few minutes on the subject of love, he/she will go on autopilot and somewhat mechanically refer you to 1 Corinthians 13. Since all Scripture is inspired, it’s great stuff. However, it is a post-graduate course in love that is seldom understood in a soul-deep, urgent, action-oriented sense, despite the thousands of sermons devoted to it. Just as some university courses have certain prerequisites, God’s graduate course in love also has prerequisites.
Very simply, “…God is love…” [1 John 4:16 KJV]. That’s it! Love is defined in just three little words, with no qualifiers. Now that does not sound very romantic does it? It certainly doesn’t sound very Hollywoodish. But there you have it in three simple words: God is love. The implications are profound. Love is the basis and driving force for ALL interpersonal relationships, including man-woman, parent-child, boss-employee, teacher-student, friend-friend, and neighbor-neighbor. The standout differences that distinctively set apart the marriage relationship include its intensity, depth, level of intimacy, and permanence. However, all relationships are built on love. Relationships grow to the extent that love grows; relationships weaken or terminate to the extent that love weakens. Love is so important to individuals, interpersonal relationships, and ultimately to cultures that a closer look is inescapable. What do you think?