The way we use the word is so broad, so generic, that I’m not sure we understand it anymore. How should we define love?
We say I “love” Tacos, I “love” shopping. The word has been used to express our deep feelings that makes us happy.
As a matter of fact, Love is more than just mere deep feelings of affection. When we say “I love you,” what we often mean is, “When I’m around you, I feel happy. You make me feel better about myself.” Now, that’s not bad at all, but you don’t have to be some genius to figure out where that road leads. When we say we love someone, we mean we have deep feelings of affection because they make us feel alive all over again — adventurous, brave, happy. Love, by this definition, is pure, unfiltered emotion. And your role in love is passive. We understand that Love shows self-care more than self-giving. However, let me introduce to the love which is far more than we comprehend.
There’s a letter in the New Testament called 1 John. It was written by a guy named — well, I’m sure you figured that part out. John was one of Jesus’ disciples. He spent three years with Love-incarnate, and he was known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
- That pretty much makes him an expert on the subject. John’s definition of love is obvious and clear-cut — “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
- Love = Jesus on the cross. There you have it, in black-and-white. If you want to know what love looks like, don’t look at a dictionary. Look at a Jewish prophet crucified outside Jerusalem. Look at God in the flesh, giving his life away for the world.
Love is emotion but its gotta be more than that. Love is a noun and a verb. Put another way, love is a feeling and an action. When it comes to the feeling of love, you’re in the passenger seat. As I said before, your role is passive. It’s something that happens to you. But with the action of love, you’re at the wheel. Your role is active. It’s something you do.
We see that in Paul’s mind, Jesus’ death is the model for how a man is to love a woman. Later he writes, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
-Ephesians 5:25-28 NIV
How are we supposed to love our wives? We are supposed to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. How did Christ love the church? He laid down His life for her. He suffered for her. He served her, guarded her, protected her, honored her, communicated with her, defended her, and died for her. A husband’s mandate is to serve his wife and sacrifice himself for her. God designed men to take risks—to be watchmen, guardians, and defenders willing and able to fight for and protect those they care for. Men are designed for honor, to do what is right instead of what is easy. They are designed to fight evil and to maintain what is good. That explains their willingness to go to war and lay down their lives in the service of their country and in defense of their families but we see that God didn’t limit men just there but the same quality are to be established to protect their Mother, Sister and every other woman they meet around. God wants to take the strength of the male qualities currently under attack in our feminized culture, and equip them in the defense and protection of the women in their lives. The enemy, on the other hand, wants to pervert those male qualities and loose them in the culture in such a way that men become predators instead of protectors.
Husband or wife, male or female, we can all take a lesson from that and learn what love actually is.