Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Love Defined

What is love?

An age old question that people have been seeking the answer to for years- some find it- some never do. In a world full of so much hate and misrepresentation it is easy to get lost in what the world says love is. I say this because I was lost– for many years– due to false beliefs of what it meant to love or feel loved– in my case, this had a lot to do with my life experiences and lack of positive reinforcement to set healthy boundaries and concepts of love itself.

So in the spirit of the upcoming “holiday”- Valentine’s Day- I decided to dig deep into the origins of love-where it came from- what it’s suppose to really mean– and how healthy love is shown and received. The month of February will be designated to articles pertaining to love. I write this in hopes it helps someone fill the missing void and redefine their thoughts on the true meaning of Love.

Dictionary.com defines love in the following ways

  • passionate affection for another person
  • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection
  • sexual passion or desire
  • Then notes Christianity: Gods benevolent attitude toward man–mans attitude of reverent devotion towards God.

Wikipedia defines love like this:

Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection and to the simplest pleasure.

Wikipedia goes on to explain that Ancient Greek philosophers identified five forms of love: essentially, familial love (in Greek, Storge), friendly love or platonic love (Philia), romantic love (Eros), guest love (Xenia) and divine love (Agape). Modern authors have distinguished further varieties of love: unrequited love, empty love, companionate love, consummate love, infatuated love, self-love, and courtly love. Scientific research on emotion has increased significantly over the past two decades. The color wheel theory of love defines three primary, three secondary and nine tertiary love styles, describing them in terms of the traditional color wheel. The triangular theory of love suggests “intimacy, passion and commitment” are core components of love. Love has additional religious or spiritual meaning. This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.

In the Bible love does not refer to an emotion but an attitude or behavior.

If we follow history back far enough it all begins in the same place–In the beginning was God. He created all the Earth, all things that walk the Earth and swim in the sea, every creeping creature, and He created man and woman in His image.

Love is of God. God authored the concept of love. Without the presence or existence of God there is no love.

1 John 4:7-11 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

As you may already be able to see our society’s view on love vs what love was designed by God to be are two different things.

Although they have similarities the biggest difference is the love we learn from society is broken– it can and will fail, it’s usually not an unconditional love, society’s version of love is emotionally charged and can change based on circumstances– where God’s purpose and design for love is based on an attitude or behavior. We love because He first loved us.

Let’s explore more of God’s design for love–a love that is fulfilling, peaceful, joyful, and patient among many other things. God describes love in 1 Corinthians 13 as the greatest gift He has given us.

1 Corinthians 13- Love the greatest gift

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Could you imagine a world where we loved ALL people like God tells us to– no matter their background–no matter their sin. I encourage everyone to put love to the test and love like a 1 Corinthians 13 warrior.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for loving us in a perfect and unconditional way. Thank you for giving us the ultimate example of love through Jesus. God this world is so lost and has distorted the meaning of love so badly that it’s overall meaning and design has been nearly erased. God we know that You are love and without You there is no love. I pray that you touch each persons heart that reads this, open their eyes and hearts to the truth in Your Word. Remind us that regardless of what the world says love is, we know in You there is a perfect love that drives out fear and it renews us from the inside out. God, fill us with Your Holy Spirit and embrace us in Your loving arms. I pray that those who do not know You would seek to know You and would feel your love and presence surround them. It is in Jesus name I pray.

Amen

Blog, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Learn to Love Your Spouse in a New Way

Falling in love might just be one of the greatest feelings one can have. It begins with warm fuzzy feelings– butterflies in your stomach– heart skipping a beat– and quickly develops into a full blown euphoric feeling. The euphoria of falling in love can make you do some pretty “crazy” things– often quickly escalating to an emotional obsession– leading you to do all you can to please the other person and “win” their heart.

Research shows that the “falling in love” or emotional obsession lasts about two years. A lasting relationship can not be built on this feeling alone. Often times people get wrapped up in their current feelings and fail to see the bigger picture.When the realization happens– somewhere within that two year mark– they begin to question everything they thought they knew.

Everyone is born with the desire to feel loved. As the saying goes “falling in love is easy-staying in love is the hard part”. This is because at the beginning stages we go so above and beyond to win the others heart– that we express our love in a multitude of ways. Once the “honeymoon stage” is over and those “falling in love” feelings subside– it leaves many feeling lost– searching for what happened– why is it so different–where did the romance go?

Often times this is a result of taking a step back from the “courting”– at this point-it’s safe to say- you have won their heart. However what happens is– when you take the step back– you are no longer expressing your love in all the different ways you once did. So what are you missing? There are five love languages and each person has a primary language. Perhaps, you are no longer speaking the same language– it’s like trying to communicate and one of you speaks English and the other French– you will not understand each other.

Did you know?

It’s common in a marriage for one to genuinely express their love for a spouse, while still failing to connect emotionally.

Before we dig into the love languages let’s take a look at what the Bible says to us regarding marriage and how to love our spouse. After all– God is the supreme example of love!

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Titus 2:3-5

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

1 John 4:7-11 Knowing God through Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Okay-Okay I get it!

But do you?

God loves us unconditionally–even when we are in our most unlovable state– God is right there waiting for you to call on Him– He will surround you in love and compassion– like you have never felt! The Bible tells us if we do not choose love-it signifies we do not know God. God’s love draws us near to Him and then to others.

Now it’s time for the fun part (not really). This is where many want to stop reading or stop following God– its the hardest part– the “staying in love” hard part. The Bible tells us that if one spouse is not showing love– the other must STILL LOVE– following the example of God who still loved us as sinners (Romans 5:8).

Ouch! That is NOT easy to do– trust me– I understand. Loving someone who is being down right mean and selfish takes some serious self-control and lots of prayer!

There are five basic love languages– by understanding each and discovering which applies to you and which to your spouse– It will help make showing love towards your spouse easier and more effective.

Each person has a primary love language and when love is expressed in that language– they feel truly loved.

1. Words of Affirmation

  • Uses words to build each other up
  • The smallest affirmation goes a long way.
  • Encourage one another with words
  • 1 Corinthians 8:1 Love edifies- builds up
  • Goal: Make spouse feel affirmed.

2. Gifts

  • Tokens of appreciation
  • Gifts even inexpensive ones to this person makes them feel loved and thought about
  • This person feels love through thoughtful gifts- a tangible reminder they are loved
  • Goal: Give spouse inexpensive, thoughtful, tangible gift to remind them they are loved

3. Acts of Service

  • Actions that one knows the other will appreciate
  • Ask spouse what can be done to help them–Do it– without complaining
  • 1 John 3:18 love in deed and in truth

4. Quality Time

  • Gives undivided attention to spouse
  • Activity is unimportant– Focusing on each other is
  • Time is a powerful communication of love
  • Time = Love

5. Physical Touch

  • Tender caring touch
  • An embrace, a kiss, a hug, a hand on the shoulder are all expressions of love
  • Physical touch helps reduce depression.
  • Mark 10:16 Jesus took time to have children come to Him, despite being busy
  • Never too old for a loving touch

Discover Your Spouse’s Love Language

  • How do they usually express love towards you?
  • What do they complain about most often?
  • What do they request most often?

Answer the above questions and this will point you towards how your spouse feels truly loved.

It’s common for a person to express love in their own primary love language– which is what causes those “in love” feelings to fade. As we get comfortable in our relationships, we often stop putting in the extra effort to express our love– resulting to what we know best– our own primary love language. When we get to the comfortable state– this is when we begin expressing our love and failing to connect emotionally.

Love your spouse unconditionally– in their love language– and see the unlocking and working of miracles in your marriage and family!


For more on the Five Love Languages Check out this great read!

*Affiliate link

Blog, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Spread Love

Last week in my post Love Defined I explained how the word love is perceived one way in society– an emotion or attachment and another in God’s eyes–an attitude or behavior. Further I explained that God is the creator of the concept of love and without God love simply doesn’t exist. We love because God first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Society has become extremely hateful and negative as a whole. God created us and instructed us to love our enemies. (Matthew 5:44) The intolerance, discrimination, and anger/bitterness that people hold against one another is out of control. It has got to the point for some, that those who are different or think differently than oneself is immediate grounds for hatefulness, slander, and down right bigotry.

God never intended for our world to be full of so much hatred– however by choices made by each person in society– here we are in 2020– God is not allowed to be talked about in school, prayer is frowned upon– yet sex, violence, and other sinful nature runs rampad and no one blinks an eye. I think this year needs to be the year we choose change–choose to spread love–healthy, Godly, unconditional love. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 4:8 that love covers a multitude of sin.

Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.

We are called to walk in love, to share the love of Christ with others, and to be the example of Christ’s love to the world. You have everything you need to walk in love. You already have compassion, empathy, patience to love– you only have to accept Jesus and access it through the Holy Spirit. Love is believing the best in people and not the worst.

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

I want to be clear that when I refer to society being hateful and negative as a whole–this INCLUDES many self proclaimed Christians. In fact if I am being honest–I have had some experiences that the Christian folk was far more rude, hateful, and unpleasant than the unsaved folk who had never heard about the love of Jesus. This is disheartening and exactly why Christians get a bad stigma. When people see someone whom is claiming to be a Christian and love God acting in such a way– it detours the lost– why would they want to live for Jesus and act like that? We have to be very careful and be sure that if we are talking the talk– we need to be walking the walk. This doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t mess up because you will– we aren’t perfect. Being aware of your talk and actions during your day to day interactions will help you recognize when your fleshly emotions are starting to take over.

In the Bible God gives us instruction on how to behave like a Christian.

Romans 12:9-21

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor (Hate) what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

God wants us to love like He loves– not like the world loves. God designed the concept of love and wants us to understand how perfect His love is. When we spread love in the way God tells us too– It pleases Him. God even went as far to say in Matthew 25:33-40 that when you help others you are helping Him. I have often heard people say why doesn’t God stop all the terrible things in the world or why does He allow people to go hungry and without a home. I usually respond with something along the lines of “God created us and called us to do His work– often times we see these things because God is calling one of His children to help those in the world around them and unfortunately we don’t always make the move when we are called into action.” One person alone can’t fix all the “problems” in the world today BUT if we all did our part and acted when called upon to help and show love like Jesus–society as a whole would be much, much better.

Matthew 25:33-40

33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

5 ways to spread love everywhere you go

Smile at people
Hold the door open for someone
Compliment a stranger
Pay it forward (buy someone a meal, coffee, etc.)
Leave positive post-it notes in public places


Kindle book is Free with kindle unlimited and $2.99 to purchase
Blog, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Love Defined

What is love?

An age old question that people have been seeking the answer to for years- some find it- some never do. In a world full of so much hate and misrepresentation it is easy to get lost in what the world says love is. I say this because I was lost– for many years– due to false beliefs of what it meant to love or feel loved– in my case, this had a lot to do with my life experiences and lack of positive reinforcement to set healthy boundaries and concepts of love itself.

So in the spirit of the upcoming “holiday”- Valentine’s Day- I decided to dig deep into the origins of love-where it came from- what it’s suppose to really mean– and how healthy love is shown and received. The month of February will be designated to articles pertaining to love. I write this in hopes it helps someone fill the missing void and redefine their thoughts on the true meaning of Love.

Dictionary.com defines love in the following ways

  • passionate affection for another person
  • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection
  • sexual passion or desire
  • Then notes Christianity: Gods benevolent attitude toward man–mans attitude of reverent devotion towards God.

Wikipedia defines love like this:

Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection and to the simplest pleasure.

Wikipedia goes on to explain that Ancient Greek philosophers identified five forms of love: essentially, familial love (in Greek, Storge), friendly love or platonic love (Philia), romantic love (Eros), guest love (Xenia) and divine love (Agape). Modern authors have distinguished further varieties of love: unrequited love, empty love, companionate love, consummate love, infatuated love, self-love, and courtly love. Scientific research on emotion has increased significantly over the past two decades. The color wheel theory of love defines three primary, three secondary and nine tertiary love styles, describing them in terms of the traditional color wheel. The triangular theory of love suggests “intimacy, passion and commitment” are core components of love. Love has additional religious or spiritual meaning. This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.

In the Bible love does not refer to an emotion but an attitude or behavior.

If we follow history back far enough it all begins in the same place–In the beginning was God. He created all the Earth, all things that walk the Earth and swim in the sea, every creeping creature, and He created man and woman in His image.

Love is of God. God authored the concept of love. Without the presence or existence of God there is no love.

1 John 4:7-11 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

As you may already be able to see our society’s view on love vs what love was designed by God to be are two different things. Although they have similarities the biggest difference is the love we learn from society is broken– it can and will fail, it’s usually not an unconditional love, society’s version of love is emotionally charged and can change based on circumstances– where God’s purpose and design for love is based on an attitude or behavior. We love because He first loved us.

Let’s explore more of God’s design for love–a love that is fulfilling, peaceful, joyful, and patient among many other things. God describes love in 1 Corinthians 13 as the greatest gift He has given us.

1 Corinthians 13- Love the greatest gift

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Could you imagine a world where we loved ALL people like God tells us to– no matter their background–no matter their sin. I encourage everyone to put love to the test and love like a 1 Corinthians 13 warrior.