“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

What is Love?

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 NIV

The apostle John talks about love a lot - both in his gospel and the three letters that bear his name. In fact, in just the verse above, he mentions that word three times. In the chapter where that verse occurs? Over two dozen times. That's an average of more than one reference in each of its twenty-one verses.
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In that way, John is a lot like our culture. Because we talk about love a lot too. We love our cars. Our favorite band. Our electronic devices. Our friends. Our family. Our clothes. Our Krispy Kreme donuts.

But frequency is where the similarity ends. Because the kind of love John is talking about and the kind of love our culture refers to have almost nothing in common.

Our pastor is preaching through the book of 1 John on Sunday mornings, and yesterday's topic was love. And he gave what I consider an excellent definition of the word as far as Christian love: God's love - the kind the apostle John is talking about - is concerned. He got it from Pastor Mark Driscoll, who used it in a mesage a few years ago. Tell me what YOU think.
Love is passion that compels you to do what is in the best interest of another person. Pastor Brian Cederquist (by way of Mark Driscoll)
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I don't know many people who love their vehicles that way. Or their favorite desert. Or even their friends.  But that's the kind of love John - and Jesus - talked about. The kind we're commanded to express toward others. Toward our family. Our friends. And yes, even our enemies.

God did it when He sent His Son to die on the cross. And when He did, we didn't love Him. In fact, we were spending our days grieving Him, disobeying every bit of wise counsel He had given to us.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NKJV
God loves us more than we love our Starbucks, our Facebook, or our iPhone. More than we love our bff, our mother, or even our spouse. Shouldn't we love Him? One another? Because of His great love and sacrifice for man, shouldn't we feel compelled to do what is in the best interest of someone besides ourselves?

Shouldn't we love as He does?

Can we love with the intensity God does? I'm not sure. Probably not. But we can love in the WAY He does - with His help. Ask Him for it.

We're discussing this here, and at Living by Grace on Facebook. Won't you join us? 
Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths


  1. I would like your pastor. That's a beautiful definition. It's a shame the English language is so limited. Greek has so many words for "love" that loving hotdogs and loving our enemies can't possibly be confused as the same. Maybe we should start adopting the Greek. I agape you, Joanne!

    1. And I agape you too, Linda. I'm all for Greek - doubting it would catch on, but when have we ever strived to be trendsetters? (Or maybe I'm just speaking for yours truly LOL)

      LOVE our pastor. Like I love you, AND like I love cheesecake ;)

  2. Sadly not only is the world confused about what God's Love truly means and looks like in truth, but many in visible Christianity believe to love is the acceptance of anything people feel is good or right for them, even as it is in complete opposition to God's Word (2 Timothy 4:1-8).

    1. So true, Cliff. Dangerous ground those folks walk. Thanks for stopping by!

    2. I heard Dr. John MacArthur say that we should stop greeting one another with "How are you?", but instead we should say, "Grace to You"


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