Biblical Love

March 6, 2022

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end  (John 13:1).

Someone has given a scathing commentary on the modern concept of love. “Contemporary society is obsessed with love. From romantic movies to popular songs to cheap paperback novels, romance is a primary theme in both entertainment and in everyday conversations. It is also big business, as newspaper columnists, talk show hosts, and internet websites offer pertinent advice to the lovelorn. But despite all the world’s talk about love, very few people actually understand the real thing. The modern world’s version of love is unabashedly narcissistic, totally self-focused, and shamelessly manipulative. It sees others merely as a means of self-gratification. Not surprisingly, relationships between selfish people usually do not last. If a current partner fails to live up to expectations (or they find someone more exciting), they move on. People are takers, not givers; humility is considered a weakness; selfishness a virtue.” Such is a lesson on the modern-day version of love.

The Bible teaches us that God is love (1 John 4:8) and that we should love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7). But what is the difference between our concept of love and biblical love? (1) Biblical love is self-sacrificing; worldly love is selfish. (2) Biblical love encourages others and builds them up; worldly love tears others down by seeking to build itself up. (3) Biblical love pursues the interests of others; worldly love pursues its own interests. (4) Biblical love seeks to meet the needs of others; worldly love seeks to meet its own needs (1 Corinthians 8:1; 10:24; Galatians 5:13). For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister (Hebrews 6:10).

The Apostle Paul wrote the most idyllic definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (New Living Translation), Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Rarely are these dynamics of love seen in modern American culture. Why? Pride and arrogance.

Again, the Apostle Paul instructs us on the matter of love in Philippians 2:3-4, Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others, and Ephesians 4:1-3, I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Amen.


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