Unleash the power of love.
Love (luv) 1. An intense affection. 2. A passionate attraction. 3. An enthusiastic liking. 4. A zero score in tennis.
How do you define it? Love can be a noun, an adjective, or a verb. We use the word love so widely we dilute its meaning. If we feel a passionate attraction toward someone, we say we’re in love. We can have an enthusiastic liking for a favorite place, and love being there, or have an intense attraction for a certain food, and love eating it. We say, “I love chocolate” or “I love the outdoors.” I’ve been known to tell people “I love my car.”
Adding a suffix can make love an adjective. We describe a picture as lovely, and call a friend lovable. You can be a lovebird (n) who is severely lovesick (adj), a lover (n) who is miserably lovelorn (adj), or a loving (adj) husband married to the loveliest (adj) wife.
Getting a handle on the meaning of love can be difficult, can’t it? The place I find my best understanding of love is from God. God turns love into a verb. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) God had an intense affection toward us. A passionate attraction. An enthusiastic liking. (When it comes to loving God, more often I fit the description of ‘zero score in tennis’). His feelings toward us move him to action.
The Bible says that God loves us. God loves you and he was not satisfied to let his love remain an action-less passion. He gave. We have wandered away from the God who made us, the God who loves us. We’ve wandered so far that we can’t get ourselves back to him. By our own choices we have created a great separation between God and ourselves. But he loves us, and in his intense affection for us he moved love into action. He made love a verb.
God sent his son, Jesus, into the world to bring us back to himself. And he didn’t wait until we showed signs of loving him first. He didn’t wait until we made the first move. That’s what real love does when it becomes a verb. It takes action. God took action. He “demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners…when we were God’s enemies… Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8,10)
That’s love. No sitting back, no waiting for us to make a move. God took the initiative to repair the relationship between him and us. He so loved the world that he gave his Son.
Love makes a nice noun. It even comes in handy as an adjective now and then. But to unleash the power of love, it has to become a verb. When we move love into action, we are imitating God, loving each other just as he loved us.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one another… Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)
Laying down our lives means putting the needs of another person ahead of our own, and serving the needs of that person. Identify one action you can complete this week that will serve the needs of someone else. Pause for a moment right now in prayer and make a promise to follow through. Write down your commitment and put it in a place where you will see it regularly until it is completed.