A Love That Lasts

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

February, the month we celebrate love. A quick trip to the local store tells us pretty quickly that love is in the air. Brightly colored valentine cards are on display. Colorful heart-shaped boxes of candy fill the store shelves. There are even those special displays of cuddly stuffed animals and other gifts that convey a special thought of love for that special someone in our life. Truly during this month, we focus on love.

Unfortunately, the English language only has one word for love. This one word is used to describe a multitude of different ideas about love. I might say I love football or I love pizza. I would also say I love my wife. That one word conveys a different type of love in different situations. While I truly enjoy the game of football my affection for the game is quite different than the affection I have for my wife. That one word we have conveys many different nuances of affection.

In the original Greek language of the Bible, there are several different words used that describe different understandings of love. One of my favorite passages of scripture that speaks about love is found in 1 Corinthians 13. This passage is often called the love chapter. In this passage the Greek word used for love is agape. One of my Bible professors once told us we could define agape love as “desiring the highest good for another”. In that passage agape love is lifted up as the most important quality we can have in our lives. The passage says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

From that description, it is easy to see that agape love is really a love that lasts. It is a love that is always looking out for others more than we look out for ourselves. It is the kind of love that could go a long way to fixing this broken world filled with hurting people. It is a love that we each need to grow into in our lives.

There is a passage in 1 John that gives us an idea of how this kind of love is possible for each of us. The passage says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8 NIV The key to a love that lasts is found in having a genuine relationship with God. Apart from that relationship, the way we love others is limited.

I suppose some may think I am being a bit idealistic, but I believe we each have the potential to change a bit of this world by sharing agape love with others around us. It starts with our relationship with God and then flows out of us to others.

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