What is Love?

love

Dictionary.com defines love as “a passionate affection for another person.” But then again, Dictionary.com also believes that boys can turn into girls, so they’re probably not the best source for getting an accurate (let alone biblical) definition of love.

And it’s incredibly important for us to understand what love is. After all, we are repeatedly commanded by Jesus to love:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 25:37-39, Mark 12:30-31, Luke 10:27)

Jesus reiterates this commandment in His final discourse:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34)

Heck, God goes as far as to say that He is love:

“We have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)

So, what is love? Is it a feeling? Is it being nice? Is it an open door, or a battlefield, or a drug?

According to the bible, love is obedience to God’s commandments:

“If you love Me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.” (John 14:21)

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:2-3)

This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in them.” (2 John 6)

In any given situation, the most loving thing you can do is the thing God has told you to do. No wonder God gave us these wonderful commandments. It wasn’t just to keep us in line; it was to keep us in love, and as long as we obey His laws, we can be certain that we will be walking in love*.


Notes:

* Some readers might deny this biblical definition of love, citing the Pharisees as a counter-example. After all, the Pharisees supposedly kept the law, and yet would not be considered very loving by Jesus’ standards. In actuality, the Pharisees didn’t keep the law—at least they didn’t keep the whole law. Sure, they kept some of it, but they also rejected a whole lot of it (Matthew 23:23, Mark 7:8-13). Obeying a few commandments while intentionally ignoring the rest isn’t true obedience, and thus isn’t love.

One Thing You Didn’t Know about Angels

Anaheim_AngelsAngels are pretty cool.

They fly around worshipping God, they do the bidding of man, they carry swords and beat the tar out of demons.  But angels have one particular hobby that is… just a little bit weird.

On occasion, an angel will come to earth, dress up as a normal human, and… ask Christians for favors.

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)

I know.  It’s pretty weird, right?

It’s almost like a supernatural version of Guess Who?.  That homeless guy with the shopping cart outside of Arby’s?  Might be an angel.  The Vietnam vet with the cardboard sign?  Might be an angel.  Sure, it’s possible he’s just a boring ol’ human who’s going to use your spare change to buy a pack of cigs (which apparently is what all homeless people do if you ask the internet), but who knows?  Maybe it’s a guy who’s just down on his luck.  Or better yet, maybe he’s really a six-winged angel with a sword made of fire, who happens to be taking his annual two-week vacation in downtown Los Angeles (it is the City of Angels, after all).

The point is that it’s not our responsibility to only help those who we deem worthy of help.  God saw fit to help us when we weren’t anything close to worthy of it (Ephesians 2).  And then when Jesus commissioned us, He told us, “Freely you have received.  Freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)

So let’s make a game out of it.  Let’s see who can entertain the most angels by the time we get to heaven.  And spoiler alert: if you only help your friends, your grand total will be zero.

I don’t know about you, but I intend to set the new high score.

And…… GO!