Saturday, April 6, 2013

What Love Looks Like

I was in young adults group the other night and a few of the members were having a conversation about love before the meeting got on the way. One of the members said, "It doesn't exist". I guess we have all hear that one before, right? Another member said, “It's a mirage!" in a very matter of fact way. Later that night throughout our discussion about relationships, we revisited the conversation that occurred earlier. Again the same two members expressed how they felt, and they were fully convinced that what they had come to learn about love was the correct, basically as far as they were considered it's nonexistent and nobody can negate that. I don't know if I should be amazed that there are so many people who have no idea what love is, but what is surprising is how many people who say they're Christians are still unable to identify love, not specifically these two gentlemen, but in general. Many young adults, Christian or not, are still uncertain about love.

There's really only one type of love and that love supersedes whatever other love many have come to learn from the world, and that is the love created by our heavenly Father, Godly love. But there is this other thing masquerading as love but really isn't, most folks don't know the difference and call anything/anyone that gives them a little tingle love. Yes, there is brotherly love, family love and the love between a husband and his wife, but throughout each of them is a common thread, and that is given to us in scripture in 1 Corinthians 13:4. The love created by God, given to us freely, is the same love commanded we give to one another, no matter what our relationship with that person may be.  Don't become confused when you see or hear people mention things like, Phileo, Storge or Eros, which by the way Eros isn't even mentioned in the Bible. Phileo or Philia is mentioned in the Bible as brotherly love. "Brotherly Love" is love between friends or acquaintances and so on. Storge, which some may be unfamiliar with and others may have heard of it, is said to be love between family members. Eros is never mentioned in the Bible at any point, not even alluded to, funnily enough, this seems to be the only one that garners the most attention in movies, music, books and other media.

Eros is said to be intimate love, or in other words, sexual love between two persons, having to do with the erotic. Eros, which is a Greek word,  is a part of Greek mythology, considered to be the son of Aphrodite. A type of  love based on a character in Greek mythology, hmmmmm this type of love is starting to sound more legit by the second, not. Eros love, because of its connection to sex obviously, is really what many of the popular songs and movies promote more often than real love. Agape love is said to be Godly love. The love of God is mentioned numerous times in the Bible, and it is the love we are told to have for one another. I think there is a pretty obvious reason why the Bible does not mention Eros, it is because Godly love is paramount. The love of God is unconditional and perfect, whereas Eros has conditions which are sexual.  In the Biblical definition of love, having sex is never mentioned as  evidence that a person loves you, or for a person to remain loving you. In fact, a person who truly loves you would love you in spite of you not having sex with him/her,  not because you did. We must remember that God says love endures all things, and that includes when it comes to having  to abstain from sex. I don’t know anyone who loved someone genuinely on the bases that they had sex with them. The message taught to many young adults is that, "real love between a couple can only begin once the act of sex has occurred", lies, and if you believe that my friend, you may have just taken a trip through crazytown by way of deceptionville. No need to fret, the truth will lead you out of there, we've all been there at some point. It is not genuine love if sex had to occur in order for the love to be established. Some go around saying, "The only way I will know you love me for real is if you have sex with me", if you ever hear anyone say that, run like the wind, because that person is trouble, either that person has no clue about what love truly is, or that person is trying to pull a wool over your eye. Yet many guys tell girls that lie, and some females do the same, and guess what, there are more who will believe that than the ones who will believe the truth. The love of God takes the backseat, whilst sex masquerading as love takes the drivers seat. The love of God, which is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit, is the love that is most important to God and it should be the same to us as well.

Satan has placed his anti-Christ slogan on the lips of many through different songs. You may wonder why I say anti- Christ, well; there are myriads of songs out there shining a dark light on love, saying love sucks, love hurts, forget love, so on and so forth. If God is the creator of love , which He is, and the entire message of the Bible is Love, then wouldn't it be anti-Christ to speak against love. But of course in many, not all, but many of the popular songs written, love is vilified. This is why I have to say those song’s are not about real love, the love bashing songs, because if they were about real love they wouldn’t be the reason many sink even deeper into depression, possibly suicide or some rage where they kill someone after hearing one of those heart breaking songs about love gone wrong. Remember , the Bible says love isn’t provoked, and love is patient, so wouldn’t that mean a lot of these popular songs are spreading an anti-love message and ultimately anti-Christ when they send people flying off the handle because of some of the lyrics?  It is the work of the devil. And some might say, “Come on, you can’t blame the music Sateigdra, it’s the person because not everyone kills someone after they hear a sad love song”, you're right not every does, but it cannot be denied that music manipulates a persons emotions whether they want to admit it or not and not everyone can keep it together, you may not kill your ex or current partner after hearing "Misty Blue" but somebody may be stirred up by the devil to do so. It doesn't matter if the music you listen to makes you happy, sad or angry or just do really strange random things, music influences everyone in some way emotionally. Look at most hip hop for instance, it influences the way many speak, dress, dance and think,  it's a teacher and many are the its pupils and don't even know what they are subjecting themselves to. We should not be ignorant of the enemies devices, spreading his agenda through certain music is one of his tools, beware. “Wherefore gird up the loins of your minds and be sober.” 1 Peter 1:13. That 1 Peter scripture isn't talking about being sober from alcohol, although that is also something many get drunk on and shouldn't. That scripture is talking about not being drunk in the ways of the world, the pattern of the world, not being drunk on the lies of the enemy, but allowing your minds to be renewed in Jesus Christ and remain there, sober. 

Unfortunately, many cannot discern exactly what love is so they are unable to even display it, and that is a very troubling thing. Truth is, if you are under the impression love isn't real or is some illusion, how will you be able to show it if you can't identify it yourself. Most importantly, if you deny the existence of love you deny one of the key tenets of the Christian faith. It is by the love of God and His mercy any of us are even here today, it is because of His love He gave His only begotten Son, it was because of love, the very same love many are denying the existence of. Some might sigh and say to themselves, “Oh, Sateigdra, you misunderstood the whole thing. You're confusing Godly love with boyfriend and girlfriend love, relationship love, duh!" Well, I'm pretty sure that didn't go over my head. I'm going to draw an example from the relationship between a husband and a wife not two unmarried people, although if an unmarried couple indeed are in love, the correct type of love, marriage should be in the horizon right? Many are under the impression the love between a husband and a wife is vastly different from the love between a mother and her children or two friends, but it's really not, if you think about it, of course taking in account all the things God said love is. If Jesus said that a man ought to love his wife the way Christ loves the church, then the love a husband has for his wife is the same love God has for us His bride, His church.  The only major difference is a husband and wife have sex and people who are not married are not to, after reading this far into this message on love, it should already be understood that sex does not equate to love. God said we ought to love one another just the way He loves us. There are no different degrees of love we are to have for different types of people, we have a standard and that standard is the love God has for us and we are to follow that pattern. Honestly, at first hearing it, it can a bit hard to really grasp, especially when God say's we are to love our enemies. God was quite clear when He said we are to love on another the way He loves us, He never specified a specific group of persons or a specific individual.

"Can't two young people be in love and not be married?" Yes, two persons that aren't married can have love for one another, love isn't something confined solely to the institution of marriage, but don't take that to mean that you should be having sex, because you're "In love". Of course the devil want's us to think that because a husband and a wife have sex, that means if people are “in love” they should have sex. By the biblical definition of love, sex and love are not directly correlated, in fact in  1 Corinthians 13:4, sex isn't mentioned, it isn't even alluded to in any way, so why do so many think that sex and love outside of marriage go hand and hand. Sex is to be between a husband and his wife (male and female), because that’s how God wants it. Now who’s big and bold enough to contend with God on that, or on anything? When a husband and a wife (male and female) are married, "the husband is to render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does, and likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does." 1 Corinthians 7:3-4.  When you fornicate, thus committing sexual immorality, you have done that against your body. "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside his body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 nkjv. If you are not married your body should not be given to anyone, no individual has authority over your body if you're not married to them, and hence you should not be having sex, no matter how much anyone claims they love you, if they love you they will be willing to wait for you, even if it meant a hundred years. Love is………patient!

"But I say to the unmarried and to the widows it is good that they remain as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion."  1 Corinthians 7:8-9 nkjv. Paul shares how it would be better for all to remain virgins (unmarried), whilst abstaining from sex, like he was able to, but he shares that if you cannot control yourself, if  certain urges are burning within you then it is better you be married, as supposed to walking around lusting and longing for sex which will ultimately lead you to fornicate. He did not say since you're feeling  aroused, and I'm trying to be G-Rated here, ya'll folks know what I'm talking about though, if you're feeling turned on, Paul did not say run out and have sex or spill you're seed on the floor.  For the ladies I'll just say it plainly, masturbation is not right, nobody should be masturbating, that goes for male and females. But why, it’s not sex right? In order for you to even get aroused to the point where you feel the need to touch yourself you would have to be envisioning something you shouldn't, hence you're lusting which is a no-no as far a God is concerned and no different from having sex, He doesn't want us lusting.  Someone might be wondering,  "if we're not suppose to have sex before we're married, why is it that our bodies are designed in a way where we become aroused?" Your arousal comes from an inner desire brought about from imagining certain scenarios between you and a certain person, a girl you know or a guy you know. When you were conceived there  wasn't some kind of gene that was passed down to you that produces those thoughts, those thoughts come from lust which is a sin, and we were all born sinners. Lust is a fruit of the flesh not of the Spirit. Husbands and wives are aroused by one another is it a sin then? In the confines of marriage it is not a sin to long to be with your wife or your husband, whereas outside of marriage it is wrong and considered sinful. Perhaps it sounds a little confusing but it really isn't. It's another one of the wonderful things about marriage, you can long and desire to be with your wife or husband as much as you want and it will never be considered wrong because you're both married, one flesh in the eyes of the  Almighty.

What does love look like? "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 it's own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." 1 Corinthians 13:4 nkjv. "Love is the bond of perfection." Colossians 3:14 nkjv. "Love never fails..." 1 Corinthians 13:8 nkjv. And nowhere there does it mention love is having sex, only the works of the father of lies would perpetuate such heresies. A horrible lie many young people believe and even teach others. Everyday we are bombarded with what the world says love is, through music, movies, books and may other things, that have many under the impression that love is something that should give us a tingly warm sensation or love and sex you can have as a pair outside of marriage. If there is no physical intimacy involved then it's not love according the doctrine of the enemy. The devil is a liar! The enemy yet again has taken something so wonderful that God has created and has redefined its meaning and have many thinking his way is the only valid way and anything else is some kind of fabrication of ones mind.

Many cannot identify love, perhaps it is because they were never shown love growing up and is unable to pin any type of gesture to love because they have not received it, or because they were hurt so many times by people who claimed they loved them, they eventually lost faith and have little to no trust in anyone anymore. For a person that has never had love, who is unable to receive love, it may seem a bit difficult to love them because they are either bitter often, or they are quick to assume anything you do is based on some ulterior motive you may have. In cases where the person does not know what love is, you should try to be very delicate with them, being aware that person may not be very trusting due to past hurt, and perhaps may have become very jaded over the years because of it. You my have to say you love them a lot more than you would regularly say I love you to someone who you know is aware of what love is. Whenever you do something you may have to say," This is because I love you", and sometimes just go up to them and say, “I just want you to know you are loved, you might be having a rough day but you are loved, you may want to be left alone right now, but I just want you to know that you are loved”. The more you say it along with performing it in different way's whether a hug or a card, kind gesture, still showing kindness to them in spite of how they treat you, and by displaying the things 1 Corinthians 13:4 says love is. Hopefully they will be able to identify love according to the pattern of your behavior towards them. When they go out and see those same actions being displayed towards them by others they will be able to identify that as love, also, pray about it. Pray that God's light may shine upon them and their understanding be opened so they can comprehend and bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the most important one, love.  

What love looks like

"Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13