There's this word we throw around in the English Language that is an infinitely important word, yet it has been diluted and demeaned, you know, because that's what we do with things that are that special and sacred. Have you guessed it yet? The special word that we make so common is love. A Word that God LITERALLY is. In one sentence, we say we love our parents, spouses, friends, pizza, dogs, restaurant, shoes, shows, and a plethora of other uses. It's like taking pure water, and pouring other drinks in to it....it is diluted, and its meaning becomes other than what it was meant to be. Love is the most wonderful thing in the universe. It is not merely a construct of God, but it is who He is (1 John 4). It is selfless, sacrificial, and sacred. If we're honest with ourselves, though, most of us have twisted love in to something that is self-serving. Dr. Michael Youseff puts it this way, "Perhaps there's not a word in the English Language that has been more tortured, and more twisted...not a word that has been more distorted, deformed...more mudded, and misunderstood, and misconstrued and misinterpreted and even perverted like the word love. And the truth is that on a daily basis, at least in my lifetime, I see the truth about love getting deeper and deeper being buried in the avalanche of selfish and confusion." When we say "I can't live without you" to an object of our affections, what we're really saying is "I don't want you for you, I want you to fulfill my desires." Love is so much deeper than that, and true love cannot be attained outside of complete and total surrender to Jesus Christ. "Well," you might say (and I'm glad you did), "that might be true for you, but it's not for me." Take an honest examination of your life, especially your relationships. What relationships are working, or not working, and why? Is there something YOU'RE not getting from them? I'm not saying this to put anyone down, I'm speaking to me as well. Supernatural, life saving, sacrificial love cannot come to us naturally. Our affections are based on emotions, real, true love is based on Sacrifice. Our marriages don't work like we want them to, relationships with our kids, friends, coworkers, and everything else, because the focus of our love is...us. We can only truly experience it as we surrender, live as a living sacrifice, to Jesus, submitting to the Holy Spirit, and seeking to Honor God in all we do. Then, we love people as God does, not seeking our self, but seeking wholeness, goodness, and the best in everyone. We sacrifice even to those who have hurt us deeply and emotionally, and sometimes physically because Jesus sacrificed so much for us, and His love for us gets poured out and extended to all others. Jesus sacrificed Himself selflessly, for us and His Father to be reunited forever. He didn't seek His own wants, wishes, and desires, but the welfare of everyone, and He sought only to the will of His Father. As He submitted to the Father, the Holy Spirit filled Him with power, and grace, and love, and mercy, even more than He had already, and He said His Father's works were made manifest as He submitted to the will of God. How can you love supernaturally? Certainly not on your own. You'll burn yourself out trying to hard. Surrender to God, seek Him out, and watch how the Holy Spirit manifests Himself in you, making you look more and more like Jesus every day. 1 John 4:7-21 English Standard Version (ESV)
God Is Love
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:20 Some manuscripts how can he