Living in a big communist apartment building you can’t hide much from neighbors especially during the summer when everyone’s windows are wide open! The other day I was sitting in our living room listening to my neighbors music and unfortunately the words of from the chorus stuck in my head.
I, I love you like a love song baby,
I, I love you like a love song baby…
Yes, I know, you’re probably thinking “that’s pretty deep stuff!” You may have heard the song before, evidently Selena Gomez is famous, but I’d be hard pressed to say she made it big by her profound lyrics! I decided to check out her song on Youtube, the official music video has about 147,000,000 views, which is about three times the population Ukraine!
That got me thinking about how our culture currently defines love! It seems like Selena Gomez couldn’t do any better than just repeating what every other song says! But what about us, can we do better? I hope so!
First of all we need to start in the right place. Selena Gomez uses popular love songs to define her relationship, but I propose we go a bit deeper and start with the source -God. John was called “the disciple Jesus loved” and he had a few things to say about this.
…God is love.
This is how God’s love was revealed among us:
God sent his unique Son into the world so that we might live through him.
This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Dear friends, if this is the way God loved us, we must also love one another.
1 John 4:8-11
I hope Selena is reading this because it would make some really great lyrics for her next song!
We all learn to love by observing it in others and sometimes by listening to love songs. I have good parents who were great examples but even they are not perfect, which is why it is vital that we learn from the perfect example -God!
What are the ingredients in real love? Reading through Scripture I have come up with 4 qualities that often describe God’s love towards us and should describe our love towards others, especially our spouse!
Sacrifice is the essence of God’s love and when Jesus willing offered up His own life on our behalf it was the pinnacle act of sacrificial love. When romantic feelings overwhelm us it is easy to utter such phrases as, “I’ll do anything for you” but on Monday morning we are often hardly willing to put the toilet seat down or squeeze the toothpaste tube correctly as a sign of our “sacrificial” love.
Real love may on occasion asks of us the ultimate sacrifice and we must be willing to lay down our lives at that point. However, most of the time we need to daily lay aside our personal agenda, habits, comforts and traditions for the sake of our spouse and those whom we truly love.
Whenever two people come together they bring a lot of bad things with them. Jesus’ love for us is portrayed not only in his sacrifice but the resulting offer of forgiveness. When forgiveness is not quickly given and just as quickly received that marriage will quickly grow sour.
Forgiveness needs to be a continual process in our deepest relationships. I like the words of Martin Luther:
“When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”
True love is constant cycle of repentance and reconciliation between two imperfect people, that consistently brings us closer to perfection and to God!
As humans our tendency is to love those who love us back and to remain faithful as long as the other person is meeting our subjective standards of feeling good and/or physical attraction. Unfortunately many follow Oprah’s advice “If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.” However, it seems that maybe following your heart isn’t the best idea, unless your God and have a perfect heart!
The great news is that God loves us even when it hurts, he loves us when its uncomfortable and he loves us when we don’t love him back!
Faithfulness characterizes God’s love for us and we are called to reflect that faithfulness in our own relationships.
A friendship is a relationship that brings mutual joy to each person. We enter into and stay in friendships not because it is demanded of us but because it is desired of us. We enjoy each others company whether we are relaxing together, working together, laughing together or crying together. There is no better friend than God!
No one shows greater love than when he lays down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Here are a few ways that God is a friend to us:
- He listens to us
- He cries with us
- He helps us
- He knows us
- He cares for us
- He provides for us