Bet you are singing that song by Tina Turner now aren’t ya? hehe
So this is February … the Luuvv month. Love, what does it mean anyway. What exactly is love? I’ve heard people reference how they love God, love Jesus, love their wife, love their kid, love their dad, love their car, love their … What, their car? Or what about that pizza over there, are you someone who loves that pizza? And I bet when your loved one brings you flowers or chocolates for Valentines Day, you are going to love them AND love the flowers and chocolates too, right? I guess love IS everywhere.
So I started wondering to myself, do we really know what love is? I think love has become the Kleenex of emotions. You do realize that those things you blow your nose in are not called Kleenexes, they are called “facial tissues.” Yet, how many times does someone say, “Hey, do you have a facial tissue?” We don’t, we call them Klennex’s which is actually only a brand name for a facial tissue. Besides, I think we should change and start calling them Puffs. It’s cuter. “Excuse me, do you have any Puffs?” “Please pass me a Puff.” What do you think? haha!
Love in essence has become just like the word Kleenex, it’s a word we use that really isn’t meant to be used the way it is. There are many kinds of love, just like there are many kinds of facial tissues, but we just say love. You know, in the Bible there are actually different words used for love, and so much is lost in reading any English translation of the Bible because it’s just love here, love there, love, love everywhere. Just one word, love. The best example I have heard yet is the conversation between Peter and Jesus in John 21.
15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. (NIV)
15So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (KJV)
You see, so much is lost here. Love, is just a Kleenex. Let’s read it in the Amplified version.
15When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do–with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Feed My lambs. 16Again He said to him the second time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Shepherd (tend) My sheep. 17He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]? Peter was grieved (was saddened and hurt) that He should ask him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep.
Does it read different to you? Jesus wanted to know if Peter loved him with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father. And Peter’s reply was that he loved him with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend. WHAT?? I’m not going to discuss this particular scripture and why he was asked three time, what he meant by his answer, or anything. I just wanted to point out how love, well, love is just a Kleenex. No one really cares what it really is, they just want it. “Give me a Kleenex” … really means … “I don’t really care if it is THE Kleenex brand, just give me one of those white little papery things that I can blow my nose on and throw away when I’m done.” Love … just give me one of those happy feelings that I can use for the moment and then throw away when I’m done.
Have you ever stopped to think just what a facial tissue does for you?? Oh my, if you did, you would surely be grateful for their invention. haha! You grab it, you use it, you toss it. Funny, it’s almost the same thing we do with love, we grab it, we use it, we toss it. We never really stop to think about all the snot it catches for us, the dirty work it does. I know you all know THIS verse in 1 Peter 4:
8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
In the KJV the word is ‘charity.’ But you know what, this love, is the love Jesus asked Peter about. The word used by Jesus in John 21 was agapaō (ag-ap-ah’-o) to love in a social or moral sense. The word used here is agapē (ag-ah’-pay)
and is derived from the word used by Jesus, it means love, that is, affection or benevolence; specifically (plural) a love feast. Yet, I think we tend to think of it like Peter did which is actually phileō (fil-eh’-o), to be a friend to (fond of [an individual or an object]), that is, have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling. Blah Blah, do we even care about any of this, just let me blow my nose and toss it already!
So anyway, what is love? What does God mean when he wants us to “love one another?” Let’s find out. John 13:
34I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. 35By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].
The word love here is the same word Jesus used when he was talking to Peter in John 21, agapaō . Interestingly enough, if you read on, you will see that Jesus and Peter have a discussion here as well, which takes place BEFORE Jesus asks him about love, hmmm. So I guess that would mean that we need to find out more about this word agapao huh? Looking at all the places that the word is used in the Bible using the Amplified version, we can learn a lot.
From Mark 12:30 we can learn that this kind of love is something we can do with our whole heart, all our soul (our life), all our mind (thought and moral understanding) and all our strength.
From Luke 6:27 we can learn that it means to treat well (do good to, act nobly toward) and that it can be done to our enemies.
From Luke 6:35 we can learn that it means to be kind and do good, doing favors, and to lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return.
From John 14:15, 21, and 23, as well as many others, we see that if we love Jesus it means keeping his commandments. And in John 15 he tells us that one of those commandments is that we love one another.
From 2 Corinthians 9:7 we learn that it is something that comes from our mind and is purposed in our heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, and is done cheerfully.
From Ephesians 5:2 we learn that it is a way of walking or in another word, living. It is giving ourselves up and it is a sweet fragrance to God.
From Ephesians 5:25-33 we see that it is an instruction to Husbands in regard to their wives. We learn that, again, it is about giving, that it can bring sanctification to his wife, and cleanse his wife. It is something that we should do to ourselves so that we are able to love others. It is about nourishing, protecting and cherishing.
From Ephesians 6:24 we learn that it should be undying and incorruptible.
From Colossians 3:12 we learn that it includes tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feelings, a lowly opinion of ourselves, gentle ways, and patience which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper.
From Colossians 3:19 we see that it is again an instruction to Husbands. We learn that it means to be affectionate and sympathetic and not to be harsh or bitter or resentful.
From 1 Thessalonians 4:9 we learn that it is something taught by God.
From Hebrews 1:9 we learn that it has to do with righteousness, integrity, virtue, and uprightness in purpose, thought, and action and hating lawlessness, injustice and iniquity.
We learn a lot from all the books written by John when it comes to love. It is not surprise that there are 27 verses in the book of John, and 17 in the book of 1 John in regards to this kind of love. After all, John WAS the beloved disciple according to Jesus, so we could probably learn a thing or two from him, wouldn’t you think.
From 1 John 2:10 and 15 we learn that it shows that we are living in the Light, and we cause no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin. That it means not loving the world or the things that are in the world. hmmmm That one just struck me. It means that we do not LOVE the THINGS of the world. Uh oh, I’m rethinking my “love” for that pizza now, how about you? Isn’t it interesting that many times Christians (including me) talk about how what we say matters, but we are so quick to use the word love … well … like we do the word Kleenex, with very little thought to it. Going to be considering this one for a little bit.
From 1 John 3:10 and 18 we learn that it is something we practice by conforming to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action. We also learn that it isn’t about what we say, it’s about what we do in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity).
So what is love? It’s something done with all of our being, we don’t worry about whether it is our brother or our enemy, we do it without expecting anything in return, and we give it all – everything – not reluctantly but cheerfully. It’s not something we say, it is something that we do because it is our way of living, it is something that can cleanse, nourish and protect, understanding that we aren’t all that. It’s something that is gentle and long-suffering, enduring, it’s not harsh or bitter. It is about living with integrity, virtue, and hating things that are nasty, while protecting others from that nastiness. It’s not about loving this world or the things in it. It is something taught by God, done by God and if we don’t do it, we don’t really know or love him. Did you get that? If we don’t do these things, we don’t really love God at all. THAT is what LOVE has to do with it.
So what is love? You know what, LOVE … well love … is just being a Kleenex. <grin>