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What Is Love?

There’s a verse in the Bible that talks about love.

It talks about how love is essentially perfect – or the love shown by Christ and how Paul explains it in its true context.

People today think love is envious – that we are to envy those in love or love itself. Some people think they need to boast about their love lives and how they’ve found “that perfect person” (at age 16), when in reality they haven’t. They become full of pride and their hearts turn haughty — “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall,” (Proverbs 16:18 NIV).

These days you see so many people – young people broken and ruined. They chase after lust, not love. Their “love” is self-seeking, it seeks to please them and only their desires. It becomes dishonorable. Their love doesn’t seek to protect or look out for the other person’s interest or their own.

You may be thinking, This is  all ridiculous – outrageous. Where on earth are you getting these ideas – this verse?

Well, were am I getting all these ideas — these references? By simply looking around the halls of the high school and even in public. Social media is also a good source of information. Pictures, videos, even songs. Examples of the type of fake “love” I’m talking about in pictures can be seen on these two:

A few examples of the type of fake “love” I’m talking about in pictures can be seen on these two: Make Them Hate Us (found on Tumblr.) and Make My — (found on We Heart It). Examples of these in songs — Well I could make a huge list, but some artists I’m sure you all are familiar with are Rihanna, Neon Trees, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, Karmin, Krewella, and so on. And videos are pretty self explanatory – or their covers and title are.

“This verse” is Corinthians 13:3-8. I’ve used this verse before in a previous post – but it was about God’s love. For Bible translations, the two primary translations I use are ESV (English Standard Version) and NIV (New International Version). I tell you this because for this verse, though both translations are good, the prefer the NIV, as the wording is better – or more meaningful to me, at least. Here’s the verse:

If I give all I possess to the poor and I give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It doesn’t not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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 hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

It’s a beautiful verse. The part that jumps out to me, personally, is the last verse – verse eight. It’s the first sentence, though it’s short, it’s powerful.

“Love never fails.”

Or in the ESV version:

“Love never ends.”

I don’t know what part may have jumped out at you – or if anything did – but I encourage you all to read it over a few times, memorize it even. It is an amazing verse, and to me it is one of the verses that I treasure in my heart.

In the book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris, Josh talks about this topic – love – he talks about it very seriously, too. In chapter 4 (or 5, depending on which version of the book you have), the chapter’s title is: Looking Up “Love” in God’s Dictionary. And in the chapter, Josh mentions the verse I just told you about – 1 Cor. 13:3-8 – but he also talks about what true love is.

“God’s definition [of love] can be as startling as an unexpected slap in the face.

The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, ‘This is love.’ God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, ‘This is love.’ 

God always defines love by pointing to His son,” (pg 64).

Amazing, isn’t it? When I first read this, I had to do a double-take. It really was – is – a slap in the face. You know on the second page, Josh writes, “Christ taught that Love is not for the fulfillment of self but for the good of others and the glory of God.  True love is selfless. It gives; it sacrifices; it dies to its own needs,” (pg 65).

Guys, girls – “as we seek to love according to God’s design, we must pursue sincerity.’Love must be sincere.’ – this brief command given in Romans 12:9 leaves no room for misunderstanding,” (Harris 67).

Love these days isn’t sincere, it’s actually a joke. Rarely do you see people saving themselves for marriage – protecting their purity. Rarely do you see (unmarried, young) couples protecting one another’s purity and hearts.

Obedience is key. Listen to God and the people (committed Christians) around you. Listen to the wise and experienced. Learn from their mistakes, don’t let history repeat itself in your life.

Even if because of selfish or envious love you’ve sinned, God is there, waiting to forgive you. But you have to be willing to change, listen, and repent. There’s still hope and time to truly love again. – Even if you’ve messed up whether it be major or minor.

It’s all by God’s grace and love.

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The white tulip symbolizes forgiveness.

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”

-1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 (NIV)

Just looking through the halls of schools, high schools particularly, you see people holding hands and snuggling up against one another while walking. On the outside of a relationship things can look just fine, if not perfect. But what you don’t see is what is going on, on the inside or peoples emotions or actions. Now some people claim to be “madly in love” or having “sentimental gush,” as Joshua Harris describes in the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and just plainly making out in the halls; open area; open space. The usual high school relationship doesn’t last longer than a few weeks to two months, some longer, some shorter.

What most teens don’t know or care about is their purity. When you keep your purity you save your whole self for the person you are going to marry. You don’t kiss. Or go off to a hotel, et cetera. Because each time you kiss you give that person a little part of you, unknowingly. The only reason people have sex or they want to have someone who loves them is because they are trying to fill the empty void in them – that void can only be filled by one, true person, the person who you’ll spend the rest of your life with. – As well as God.

People believe that kids (teenagers) should be allowed to date in high school, or that’s what society thinks. They are mostly wrong. I say “mostly wrong” because there are seniors, going off to college, and they’ll start looking for “that person.” But until then, you should hold off from dating. Now, I know that there are some who’ll just ignore holding off, so I’ll give you advice on how to date right; or in a way that you’ll keep your purity. The first way to date and keep your purity would be limiting yourself and your partner. Set boundaries and do not cross them. An example of a boundary line would be no kissing; limit yourself to your physical affections toward one another. The more physical you are, the harder it is to not go further. Make sure you devise a smart and well thought through plan, as well as making sure you can keep to the rules your plan’s guidelines set. To give you an idea of a plan, here’s an outline to one that I came up with:

  • No Kissing. Period.
  • Absolutely no renting a room, or anything heading down those lines.
  • Occasional hugging is OK
  • Holding hands is fine
  • When going out, always be in a group

When making a plan, or writing out your standards, check with your partner, make sure they are able to follow and respect your plan, and the same goes for you too. “The Bible tells us the pat of sin, particularly in regard to the wrong use of our sexuality, is like a highway to the grave. We shouldn’t get on it then try to stop before we arrive at the destination – God tell us to stay off that highway completely… Only by keeping our standards too high and killing sin in its infantile stage will we avoid its destruction. Set your standards too high. You will never regret it,” As Joshua Harris puts it. Now, there’s one point I want to particularly point out, and it is the last point: When going out, always be in a group. By group I mean friends, another couple, et cetra. Why? Because you’ll be more tempted to break the guidelines set. When people are alone; secluded, you’re more tempted to be more romantic, if you get what I’m saying.

In the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, mentioned above by Joshua Harris, the author explains that “People date because they want to enjoy the emotional and even physical benefits of intimacy without the responsibility of real commitment… dating is a product of our entertainment-driven, ‘disposable-everything’ American culture,” (Harris 33). Joshua continues onto page thirty-six saying, “When we consider that our culture as a whole regards the words ‘love’ and ‘sex’ as interchangeable, we shouldn’t be surprise that many dating relationships mistake physical attraction and sexual intimacy for true love.” If people alone can keep to their purity who knows how many more will be spared from wrong chooses that can result in grief. Every person is valuable. People deserve the best of life they shouldn’t worry about their past decisions either.

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God is Love, pretty simple right? God = Love, basic grammar. But what is love? Is it that mushy feeling when you see a cute guy? Or is it the way your parents feel about each other? Or what about those shoes that you saw in the mall?  We use this word pretty freely today.  We use it when we like something a lot, like shoes or an artist.

The Webster defines love to be- Sex, warm affection, devotion, a deep desire of something, a beloved person, great affection, liking something, enamor or in love…

Now according to this we have the use of love down pretty well don’t we? But this is our society’s view of love. Notice how SEX is on the apex???

So if God is love, then is he sex? Of course not! See how bad we have messed this word up? We have turned Love Himself into something he is not! Now between husband and wife this could be included, but that wouldn’t be first or even third. First should be love. Which God tells us, from the Bible, is-

Love is patient,

Love is kind,

Love does not envy,

Love does not boast,

Love is not proud,

Love is not rude,

Love is not self-seeking,

Love is not easily angered,

Love keeps no records of wrong,

Love hates evil, but Love rejoices with truth; it always protects, always trusts, always perseveres.  (1Cor. 13: 4-7)

WOW! That’s pretty profound if you think about it. But hang on. Not once did I see the dictionaries definition of it… See, if you truly love a person, this is what it should be first and foremost in the relationship; the rest will fall into place. You see, love isn’t a feeling or emotion; it is an act, if done repeatedly, becomes a habit that should outline your character.

Emotions and feelings follow Love. Love does not follow emotions and feelings

This is what Love himself is. God is our prime example of love. See why so many people get divorced? Have broken and splintered hearts? It’s because they go by today’s version of love.  I don’t care if you think the new boy in math class is cute. Stop and think; make it like a check list. It will clear your head. But this is God’s love for us. A clear, pure, unfailing love.  And this should be the type of love for everyone. No exceptions for that certain person. Because once that mushy feeling gets bypassed, if you don’t have God’s love for the person, you’ve just wasted and possibly lost a friendship.

So do you see how dedicated God is to us? In Marriage vows it says, through thick and thin, now it’s not just talking about unsteady times when you guys don’t have a lot of money, it’s also talking about those times when ya’ll are angry at each other, loathe each other, or you don’t feel drawn to that person. If our world’s view of love is true, then that’s when you sign the divorce papers. God will never sign off on our relationship with him! Even when we hate him, he loves us. We have bashed Him, denied Him, and we don’t deserve His Love.  But he gave his son so he could continue to love and serve us.  Love, in short, is a servant’s heart. That is why God should be our definition of love. Not the world’s view, because

God = Love.

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