15 December 2017

All You Need is Love

Have you ever asked yourself, ‘What is love?’ It’s an interesting question because love is probably the most written and sung about thing on this planet. The Beatles famous song, ‘All You Need Is Love’ says it all.

We know that love is incredibly important. From the moment we’re born until the moment we die we need love, and yet so many of us have a distorted view of what love actually is. Hollywood and Bollywood have a lot to do with that. They make love out to be all about romance and knights in shining armour. Hopefully our marriages still contain romance, but no life and no marriage is one long romantic interlude. If we expect romance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week then we have a serious problem because that is only one small part of love.

So exactly what is love? One way of tackling this question is to look at a description of love in action as described by the Apostle Paul, writing to his friends at the Church in Corinth. It is a very familiar passage to many people:

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love isn’t envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It doesn’t insist on its own way. It’s not irritable or resentful, it doesn’t rejoice in wrong doing, it rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things and hopes all things and endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians ch 13 v 4-8)

It’s a beautiful description of what love actually is, but the interest lies in the sort of love that Paul is talking about. In this passage he is describing ‘agape’ love, which is the deep unconditional love that we get from God. Whenever the Bible speaks of God’s love for us it is invariably talking about this kind of love – ‘agape’ – unconditional love.

When you think about it, for love to have any real value in a throw away society where marriages are easily thrown away and where people are rejected, the only sort of love that has true value is unconditional love. The sort of love that accepts us for who we are no matter what we do. That is precisely the sort of love God is speaking to us about here, through the Apostle Paul. Take a moment to think about the wonder of this agape love. If someone loved you in this way, if someone humbled themselves, made themselves to be lowly in order to love you with patience and kindness, not insisting on their own way or being irritable or resentful, believing the best for you, burying all your burdens, enduring through everything without end, let me ask you, would that make a difference in your life?

If someone were to pull alongside you and share the burdens of your life with you in a way that they never accused you or judged you or had a go at you, it would be like winning the lottery wouldn’t it? It would make absolutely all the difference. It would add a dimension, a richness to life that’s difficult to put into words.

Jesus is that person. Jesus said:

“Come to me all that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I’ll give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, learn from me for I’m gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11v28)

Jesus is the One with that sort of unconditional love. He hitches up beside us on our journey to help carry our load, to guide and to steer and to encourage and love us with an unconditional love. And if we should ever doubt this we need only to cast our eyes down to the scars on His hands and His feet.

And so no matter what we do, no matter how bad things get, He bears all things – all our sin through those nails that tore through His flesh. He believes all things and hopes for all things. He knows the future. He sees the best in us. He nudges us gently towards His best for us with a certain hope that we’ll find it.

Paul is able to finish off this beautiful passage on love with this:

“Love never ends.”

Let this blow your socks off today. There are so many people walking around on this planet who believe in God, but whose lives have never been rocked to the core by the unconditional love of God. Friend be rocked to the core today, be moved to tears, be overwhelmed as the Spirit of the living God pours His love out into your hearts.

Romans chapter 5, verses 5 – 8 says:

“And the hope doesn’t disappoint us because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us. For while we were still weak, just at the right time, Jesus died for us. Indeed rarely will anyone die for a righteous person although perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die but God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

And when we let God embrace us with the reality of this love, my friend our whole world changes. All of a sudden we’re safe. All of a sudden we’re secure. All of a sudden we know that no matter what we’ve done in our lives, no matter how badly we’ve failed God, no matter what we may be addicted to, no matter what bad thing may seem to have an overwhelming power over our lives right at this minute, the love of God is real, it is absolutely unconditional, it is for you, it is for me and it’s free because of Jesus.

Want proof? Look at the cross. God proves His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. May the Spirit of God drench your life in this reality. May He open your eyes and fill your heart with wonder and joy because it was for this very reason that Jesus died for you.

Berni Dymet