Do Everything In Love

How do you define love?

Do Everything in Love 001

In one sense, love is a feeling.  The dictionary defines this feeling as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for some person or some thing”.  It is a feeling of enjoyment. If I said to you, 

“I love running,”

you would understand it to mean,

“I really enjoy running.” 

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my facial expression = comedic relief 🙂               conference track meet 4×800, first place 

Likewise, love for a person can mean a deep enjoyment of the person.  For example, if I said to you,

“I love my teacher,”

you would understand it to mean,

“I enjoy my teacher and the way (s)he teaches.”

my Spanish teacher. my favorite teacher.

Despite this, love is not just a feeling. Love is also action taken for the good of another.

We love others by acting and speaking with kindness and patience . We love others by putting them first with our time, money, and attention.  We love others by serving, caring for, and giving to them.  In all of these ways, love is an action.

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How are love and hope related?

C.S. Lewis, late renowned author and professor, wrote this:

“Love is not affectionate feeling but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”

 In other words, to love someone is to hope for their good and strive to obtain it.

Hope For Atlantic City
H4AC’s best 13-year-old intern

I spent the last week in Atlantic City, New Jersey with the organization Hope For Atlantic City. The theme for our week’s worship was “Do Everything In Love.”

Do Everything in Love 002

As I thought about it, I realized that doing everything in love is a habit for a hope-filled heart.

If C.S. Lewis is correct, to love is to fill your heart with hope for the good of others.

This week was centered upon the Bible, which has plenty to say about love. Allow me to focus on three main things:

#1. Love makes actions worthwhile.

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“If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, but have not love, I gain nothing.” {1 Corinthians 13:2-3.}

This verse explains that actions that seem wonderful – faith (loving God) and giving away all that one has (loving others) – do not always come from a heart of love.  Without love, these actions are worthless.

“One Pharisee, a lawyer, asked Jesus a question to test him.

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

37 And Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”       {Matthew 22-35-39}

A Pharisee, a Jew extremely concerned with performing the right actions, asked this question.  Jesus made it clear that unless you love God and love others, your rote obedience is worthless.

#2. Love involves sacrifice.

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I cannot love anyone without setting aside my time, talents, and resources for their sake. Selfishness is the opposite of love. Love involves selfless giving, which is costly – but what I sow in love, I reap in hope and joy.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” {John 15:13}

#3. Only God truly does everything in love.

The Bible says that God is love {1 John 4:8}.  How is this possible?

Love exists between multiple beings, correct? How can one being be love itself?

The answer is that God is a multipersonal God – within Him are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  From eternity past, the Father has selflessly loved the Son and the Spirit; the Son has loved the Father and the Spirit; and the Spirit has loved the Father and the Son.  Never are any of the persons self-loving and stationary; rather, each person pours himself out for the others and is filled by the others.

When God made us, he invited us into this glorious community of selfless love.  Yet rather than continuing his beautiful pattern, we turn inward and away. We neglect to fill our souls from the bottomless well of his strong and joyous love while trying to find satisfaction in lesser loves.  We neglect to love the glorious one and try to love dust.

When God asks me to do all things in love {1 Corinthians 16:14}, my confession is,

“I have not loved you with my whole heart, O God, and I have not loved my neighbor as myself. I cannot fulfill this law.”

God is the only one who does all things in love.  Thankfully, God came to earth and lived a perfect, loving life and died a perfect, loving death. He is my substitute. He took away my selfish record and replaced it with His spotless life of love.

My hope is fixed on the one who does all things in love. My life is his, and his love fills my heart with hope.

CHALLENGES:

#1. Define love. Is it a feeling, an action, or both?

#2. Identify what you love the most. For me, in my own strength, it is my own self. In Christ, my greatest love is God. Is your greatest love something worthy of your utmost affection?

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