Strong spirits: what is love anyway?

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Photo: The Conversation

Love. What is it anyway? We all want it, even need it. We positively clamor for it. But what is it? It takes many forms, has many faces, delights and disappoints.

Our popular culture has nearly deified it. But the love it lifts up is usually about me, my needs, my pleasures, my satisfaction. A pretty narrow view of such a powerful force. What can we learn about love from the Bible?

" Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always 'me first,' doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't reel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end." the apostle Paul to his friends (1 Corinthians 13:5-7 (the Message version))

" The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them." Jesus to his friends (John 15:13)

" There is no fear in love. perfect love drives out all fear." the apostle John (1 John 4:18)

You can never be fully satisfied with the love the world offers. God created us for a relationship with himself, and that relationship is one of love, for God is love.

If your life seems out of kilter, if you are longing for something but can't find satisfaction, it may well be that you are in need of God's perfect, all embracing love. It's yours for the asking.

God already loves you... what is your response?

Gary Schwerin serves as pastor at Caledonia Congregational Church. He is also the Spiritual Development Minister for the YMCA of the Rock River Valley and Executive Director of Bridge Ministries of Rockford. Prior to launching Bridge Ministries, Gary spent many years in leadership with Young Life. His columns appear here every Sunday - subscribe to our daily email so you don't miss any.

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