There’s a lot of talk about love this time of year, as Valentine’s Day comes and goes. Kids pack up small notes and candies to share with classmates, couples go out to fancy dinners, and men rush to buy roses for their special someone.
Love is something we all want DEEPLY, and the pursuit of it can often take us down the wrong road or leave us feeling empty inside. So, how can we know for sure what true love is?
Most often, when people think of love, they think of hugging, kissing and holding hands. But love goes far beyond acts of physical affection. And true love isn’t exclusive to an intimate relationship between a man and a woman—love is central to parenting, friendships, extended family (yes, it’s true) and ministry.
Aside from physical affection, some people think true love acts just how you want them to all the time. Not so! True love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, which tells us how true love acts:
- It forgives
- It sees the best in people
- It has patience
- It is kind to others
- It is not rude or inconsiderate
- It doesn’t tell people what they want to hear; it tells them what they need to hear
- It isn’t quick to get angry or offended
- It is not touchy, fretful or resentful
- It obeys God
Now, if someone slips in one of these areas now and again, it doesn’t mean they don’t genuinely love you—it means they are imperfect people who need forgiveness. But true love (developed through a relationship with Christ) will work to behave in these ways toward others.
On the other hand, if you’ve been going down this list checking it against someone in your life and thinking, Mm-hmm. I knew it, you’ve missed the point. If you are a giver of true love, you won’t think of how others should treat you, but instead, you’ll focus on how well you can love others. Of course, this is not to say that you should allow someone to treat you any way they like. It is important to have boundaries in any relationship—romantic or not—and an abusive relationship is not one you should tolerate.
If you’ve been looking for one perfect, true love in your life, there’s only one place to find it—in Christ Jesus.
Even though you can never be perfect, He will always love YOU perfectly. If you ever want to know what true love feels like, acts like and looks like—look to the Cross. The love of God is full of life-changing power.
Just look at how true love shows power:
- True love created you (1 John 4:8)
- True love saved you (John 3:16)
- True love healed you (Isaiah 53:5)
- True love rescues you (Psalm 34:7)
- True love set you free (Galatians 5:1)
- True love made you righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- True love fuels mountain-moving faith (Galatians 5:6)
- True love never leaves you (Hebrews 13:5)
- True love cancels out all fear (1 John 4:18)
- True love makes everything else matter (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
You see, there is only one true love. If you’re a believer in Jesus, you already have it. God doesn’t have love; He is Love! No other love on earth can compete with the love He has for you.
The earth can’t take it and steal it away. Mean people can’t overcome it. True love works because it is powerful, and it never fails. It is so powerful that it can love regardless of whether it is loved back.
That’s powerful love.
Agape—unconditional love—is powerful. It makes you the master of every situation. When you’re walking in it, no weapon formed against you will prosper. No one even has the ability to hurt your feelings because you are not ruled by emotions but by God’s love. You are loving as He loves. That’s manifest power right there!