Thursday, January 28, 2010

Love

I heard a song about love this morning, and I don't remember much of the content except that it was about love.  It was a Christian guy so I know it's not Lady Gaga's or Kes$ha's (I even got the dollar sign right for her name.) or 3OH!3's perspective on love...if they even have a perspective on "love."

It inspired thoughts of conversations with my former roommate, conversations about this concept of "falling in love" with someone, which has in turn led to the phrase "falling out of love."  Really?

We need an accurate definition of love.  Without this, no one knows what they're even falling into or out of.  [Spoiler Warning!] The fact is, with the right definition of love,  you realize it's not something you fall into or out of at all.

Many of us have heard the phrase, "Love isn't a feeling.  It's a decision."  Hurray cliché.  But if you look past the overuse, you will find its truth.

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
I began to think, "How much of love is a feeling?"  My thoughts took me to the passage above.  Patient and kind, how often do you or I feel patient or kind?  How often do you or I fall into or out of patience and kindness and hope and humility?  Do we just fall into or out of envy or boasting or arrogance or rudeness?  They just happen?  We just fall; it's the gravity of life, I guess (By the way, how can you fall in two different directions?  You only fall one way?  Where does this second option for falling come from?).

How often do I just fall into not insisting my own way, and later, I just end up falling out of it and insisting on my own way instead?  I mean, it just happens right.  Everyone walks down their own paths, and sometimes those paths take people apart, right?  Life just happens to me, to us, doesn't it?

Here's the deal, none of us just fall into or out of any of those things love is.  Those are all choices to be and act a certain way.  As John Piper says, "Love from God in us shows itself in deeds, deeds, deeds!"[1]  It is a fact.  "But I'm in love with him/her."  Really?  Are you patient, kind, content, humble, selfless, joyful?  Whatever it is we're falling into or out of, it isn't anything like love.  In fact, if love is a feeling and not a decision, all love is is a collection of all our emotions that at this time or that time make us feel good (It's pretty selfish, huh?).  So really, what we are all saying is not that we fall in or out of love but that we fall in or out of feeling good with this or that person.  Sounds great, right?  Thankfully, this is not what love is.

Why is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 the right definition of love?  Because it is not rooted in mankind and his ways.  It is instead rooted in Jesus Christ, which means it is rooted in God.  This is the true meaning of love because it is who God is.  All of this is rooted in and founded on the person of God who is most fully revealed in Jesus Christ.  When we say, "God is love," we are talking about the Trinity; we are talking about Jesus; we are talking about 1 Corinthians 13 and other passages like it found in God's word for us:  Love is from God.

"For God loved the world, so He gave gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16; emphasis mine).  Do you see 1 Corinthians 13 in this?  Do you see it in the God of the universe, the Creator who humbled Himself from His rightful place as king in Heaven to live on this earth as a man, as part of His creation even to the point of suffering and dying on a cross, and for what?  For our salvation because of His love, real love, love that is a decision, love that you can't fall into or out of, love that is actually what love is, love that was undeserved, and we can rejoice that this is a love that truly never changes, never leaves us nor forsakes us, from a God who does not fall into or out of feelings but has chosen in His complete and perfect goodness that He would love us.


2 comments:

mwheeland said...

Feelings fade, but a commitment lasts.

It's near impossible therefore to "fall out of love" with someone if your love is rooted in commitment.

The biblical terminology for such a commitment is "covenant." God, because of his covenant with his people, continually was patient and loving with them.
However, his relationship with them was not peer to peer, like our love relationships are today, hence, why he could rightly discipline them and why it would be cruel to discipline our wives, etc.

Jonathan Rosen said...

Thanks for the supplement :)