If love is defined and measured primarily by the way we feel, how can we not get confused? Looking at the world’s ideals of love portrayed in movies and what is socially accepted, we see that love is based on emotions and driven by self-gratification. The world shows love as self-focused regardless of the cost to yourself or others. Once the emotions of desire or happiness start fading in your relationship or marriage, the world encourages people to walk away. Love is not seen as a sacred commitment with respect, responsibility, and accountability. The world’s ideals of love make it a disposable commodity.
God’s design of love and marriage is opposite of the worlds. He revealed His design of love through the example of Christ’s life. Jesus shows us what love “is” and what love “does” in his attitude, heart, and acts of love. His life reveals there is an active substance to God’s love that is not based on feelings.
The Substance of Christ’s Love
Jesus shows us God’s pure substance of love flowing through him as he brought the Good News to the poor, healed the sick, proclaimed freedom for the prisoners and oppressed, and gave sight to the blind. Whosoever chooses to ask Christ to live in their heart and reign in their life has the substance of God’s pure love living and flowing through them. All that God’s love does, and is, originates from his self-lessness and faithfulness.
I’m thankful that God’s love is not dependent on how “I” feel but on His promise. Although He created us with emotions, they do not have logic or understanding. Emotions are reactive. Basing the principles or standards of love on unpredictable feelings can never be reliable, dependable, or self-LESS.
Jesus shows us firsthand how imperative it is to be in control of our emotions. We are to use our mind and take our thoughts captive. With your focus on what God’s love “is” and “does,” you ensure God’s love flows through you regardless of what you think, what you are going through, or how you feel. The substance of God’s pure love is the only way to stabilize the selfishness of our imperfect human condition.
To help you have a clear picture and understanding of Christ’s love, the apostle Paul wrote a list for us in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13, (NIV and TLB translations). The Love Chapter begins with what love does and is. However, I wanted to share with you what love does not do, and is not, first.
1 Corinthians Chapter 13: The Love Chapter
Love Does Not and Is Not
- Is not envious or jealous
- Is not boastful
- Is not proud, arrogant, or rude
- Is not irritable or touchy
- Does not dishonor others
- Is not self-seeking or selfish
- Is not easily angered
- Does not delight in evil
- Does not hold grudges
- Keeps no record of wrongs
Love Does and Is
- Very Patient
- Very Kind
- Rejoices with the truth
- Always protects
- Always trusts
- Always hopes
- Always perseveres
- Love never fails (God’s love never ends)
When we partner with Jesus and allow his love to flow through us, our love will look opposite to the world’s ideas and standards. We will live loving God first and then loving others as we love ourselves. Learning how to love like Jesus is a process we must all learn. For those of us who have gone through hurtful and abusive relationships with people who professed to love us, we will have a few more steps in our process of living in Christ’s love.
One of the hardest things for me to accept and practice was the reality that this list was meant for me to follow and it is also the standards for which I was to receive love from others. God’s second commandment for me to love others as I love myself placed the loving relationship between two people on equal standards.
Abuse is NEVER Pure Love
Jesus NEVER allowed anyone to abuse him until he gave himself to be the sacrifice for our sins. Being Christ-like is to imitate him. We are not called to let people abuse us but to love us in the pure substance of Christ’s love living in and flowing through us.
If you have fallen into the confusion of emotional love, what is the first step you can take to live in the life-transforming love of Christ in your life? What do you need to say to Jesus? What books can you read on Boundaries or Love and Respect concerning relationships and marriage? What do you know or need to learn about abuse? Who can you talk with to help you learn how to love and receive the substance of Christ’s love?
Jesus LOVES you! He died and rose from the dead to make sure you could live in his love right now. Decide on the first step you can take and share your decision with someone who will encourage you and help you grow. You can always contact me at Darla@GodsTransformingGrace.com. I would love to encourage you and hear how things are going!