Friday, 4 May 2012

What is Love?

Not the Haddaway song from the early 90s, but one of the questions Teesside posed to their campus last week.
It is a very interesting question, as the range of answers they received proved.

The most popular answers, perhaps unsurprisingly, were along the lines of feelings and relationships, each of those received about 20 answers. They varied in complexity but the main thrust of the opinion was along the respective line.
But a couple of answers that you may not have expected to feature so prominently were:

Unconditional - 7
Don't Know - 15
Sex - 8
Chemicals - 6

I imagine some of the 'don't know' responses may have been due to the pressure of thinking of an answer on the spot, but it does show that love is something we speak about daily and yet find very difficult to define. It isn't a huge surprise that 'sex' featured, as many of the most popular TV shows and magazines lead us to believe that sex=love.

The other two answers I have featured lend themselves to a little more analysing.

Is love just a chemical reaction in our brains? Or as one student put it "my favourite chemical reaction". Is it possible that what I feel for my wife and daughter, for example, is merely down to chemicals? Well, if we live in universe without the God of the Bible, then that's exactly what I would have to conclude. There is no rhyme or reason behind love, everything is chance, time and processes. Can we really live like that? For example, I don't think any spouse would like to hear their partner say "I chemical reaction you!"

Unconditional is a totally different type of answer. It gives the sense of wanting someone who will accept you as you are, warts and all. Someone who will always be there for you, care for you, do what is best for you and never leave you. Someone who will love us at our best and our worst. This resonates with us doesn't it. But can we really find that in another human being?
We can make love into our God and our search for perfect love can be relentless and ultimately fruitless. In doing that we often place unreal expectations upon the people we seek to find this love in.
But there is a solution.

The answer the Bible gives to the question "What is love?" is staggering.

1 John 4:8-10 - "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. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."

God is love. Father, Son and Holy Spirit define what love is. Love is outward focussed. Love looks to the interests of other above self. The love of God is most clearly and wonderfully displayed at the cross as Jesus Christ lays down His life so that those who would trust in Him might come to know the living God, being found in Him and enjoy Him forever.

If yo know this love, you know it to be truly satisfying. If you don't know this love, look to Jesus, check Him out.

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