If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Cor. 13:1-3 NRS)
If we accept the revelation that God is love and that we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26) then the foundation of our lives, our core nature, should be love. However, when we look at our world and perhaps, even our own lives, love does not seem to be the main motivator unless it is a perversion of love that comes from selfishness.
The word love has been adapted to many usages in our culture today. I believe from my study that true relationship love needs three elements to be understood. First, love must have a commitment and desire to be with (spend time) with the one you love. Distance and time do not make the heart grow fonder. If you love someone, you want to spend time with them. God did not create humanity to be distant from them. If there is a distance it is we who have created it.
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Ps. 145:18 NRS)
But what does it say? “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); (Rom. 10:8 NRS)
In both the Old and New Testament the Scripture continuously reveals God’s desire to be with us and for us to desire the presence of God. This is why religion that does not promote practices that emphasize seeking God and being with God is likely a false faith. Relationship require work, attention, and presence. When God is relegated to a place of ritual or social convenience this relationship suffers.
I recently walked up to the doors of death. Now whether what I experienced was simply a creation of my damaged mind or is a memory God has allowed me to keep is up for question. In this experience there was a struggle for my soul. This struggle only took place because I had allowed my relationship with my Lord to slip into the category of convenience. I had only been giving lip service to One through whom my whole being rested. I am convinced in my taking my relationship with God for granted I opened the door to a demonic obsession that nearly killed me.
Again, true love requires the maintenance of a desire to be with the one you love.
I will discuss the next two key elements of love in my next post.