What Love Is…

1 Corinthians 13:4 “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,…”

Today is Valentine’s Day. For some, this is a wonderful day; for others, a dreaded day. Maybe for you this is just another day. Regardless, this is a day where we are encouraged, on all fronts, to celebrate love.

While it may be true that “Valentine’s Day” is a “made up holiday,” it is a great opportunity to express our love.

We would all agree that love is a good thing. In a previous devotion, we highlighted the fact that “God is Love”. All true love begins with God.

What kind of love?

As believers who continually experience God’s love, it is clear that scripture calls us to the action of love.

We are exhorted to love God (Matthew 22:36-37). In the same passage, Jesus calls His followers to love their neighbors. I believe that this command includes loving our brothers and sisters in Christ (John 13:33-34), and loving the lost. In fact, in Matthew 5:43-44 Jesus calls his disciples to love their enemy!

While much of the love that will be celebrated today is a surface level, superficial kind of love, the love that God calls us to is a much deeper, more significant kind of love.

Agape Love

The Apostle Paul writes to the church at Corinth and instructs them concerning this thing of love. In the KJV, we read this word charity; other versions simply use the word love. These are both good translations of the Greek word agape.

In the Enduring Word Commentary, David Guzik writes “[Agape] is a love that loves without changing. It is a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting repayment. It is love so great that it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing. It is love that loves even when it is rejected. Agape love gives and loves because it wants to; it does not demand or expect repayment from the love given. It gives because it loves; it does not love in order to receive.” 1

One of the things that we learn about agape love is that it involves a choice. Loving with this love is a matter of the will; it is selfless Christ-like love.

How it looks

What does this kind of love look like? It is vastly different from our current culture’s view of love. Paul not only calls the believer to love but he defines “What Love is”.

• Charity suffereth long — agape love is patient.
• and is kind — agape love is kind.

Even in these first two descriptors of what love is, we find it largely unfamiliar in our day. While it may be hard to find this kind of love in our culture, this is exactly what we have come to expect and esteem in our Heavenly Father.

Today, as you reflect on this topic of love, I want to encourage you to do two things.

  1. Consider God’s love for you. As you do, remember that His love for you is not based
    on your merit or behavior, but on His character.
  2. Let His love for you empower your love for others. Demonstrate this agape love to
    those whom you will encounter, and remember that this kind of love involves a

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1 Guzik, D. (2022, 02 14). 1 Corinthians 13 – Agape Love. Retrieved from Enduring Word: https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/1-corinthians-13/