meditations, musings & music from the appalachian foothills

What Is Love?

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul says that there is only one stat that ultimately matters in your walk with God - one thing that that truly tells the world who you are, and that is your love (or lack thereof). The real question is, how do I grow in love? What does love look like? What does love do, and what does it not do? What is love?

12.5 Love Feels Good About You

(I already posted on this verse once, but had a little more to say about it in a different direction… enjoy)

Lots of Christian people are trigger happy to demonize emotions. In other words, they don’t want you to put a whole lot of stock in the way you feel. And look, to a certain degree, I totally understand that. I mean, feelings can change so fast, and they can be affected by just about anything, including (but not limited to) the amount of sleep you get, the state of your thyroid, how comfortable your clothes are and how much fast food you’ve been eating. Emotions can come in unannounced, wreck the whole house and then burn off and leave completely without ever bothering to explain who invited them or where they got the key. 

So, as Christians, we don’t want to base our entire walk around the way we feel, but that doesn’t mean emotions aren’t important. We don’t want to steer and navigate every piece of our Christian experience from our heart, but to ignore our hearts altogether would be a grave mistake. After all, God made our hearts and appeals to us on the basis of love. He wants to woo us into a relationship with Him and He wants us to feel that relationship deeply. In fact, almost all of the prayers that Paul writes out in his letters in the New Testament are prayers about the heart - prayers that we would feel the right things more; such as peace, joy, love and hope. 

Sometimes Christians say that love is not emotion but an action, and that’s kinda silly. I know it sounds like a really Christian thing to say, and certainly real love that comes from God has all kinds of action in it, but who in the world wants anything to do with a love that doesn’t feel like love? The Apostle Peter says we should “love one another deeply from the heart.” — anyone who reads that and says love isn’t an emotion needs to stop talking for a few minutes and read it again. Of course love is emotional! Who wants to live in a world where love is simply action without feeling? Do machines love? Love is emotional and it is also active. It’s both, but make sure it’s both and not just one.

In verse 7 of 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says that love “always hopes.” To me, this is where Paul’s definition of love really gets the heart involved. Hope is an emotional word. Hope feels good about something, even if it can’t be seen. The word Paul wrote is also translated ‘expectation’ and has the idea of crossing your fingers with longing for this thing. We’ve already looked at how love believes all things and rejoices with the truth. In other words, when I love people, I see true things about them. I see God at work in them. This next word, ‘hope’ is taking those ideas deeper. To me, when Paul says, “love always hopes” it’s as though he’s saying, “I see God at work in this person, and what’s more I want to see them that way. I feel love for them. My heart doesn’t want them to fail and fall, but to make it and change. It’s not just that I believe God is going to make your story something awesome someday, but I actually feel that way about you. I want you to make it through. 

Romans 8:28 says that we know God is working everything together for our best. Love believes that’s true even when it looks otherwise; but love goes even farther. Love feels that it’s true. Love wants it to be true. Love is pulling for you. 

What Is Love?

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul says that there is only one stat that ultimately matters in your walk with God - one thing that that truly tells the world who you are, and that is your love (or lack thereof). The real question is, how do I grow in love? What does love look like? What does love do, and what does it not do? What is love?

12. Love Is A Day-Dreamer

Have you ever seriously thought about what you’d do with all the money if you won the lottery? Come on… you’ve done it. We all have. I remember a few years ago, Pepsi had a contest where they would supposedly give away a billion dollars. A billion dollars, people. Dang. Shamefully, I admit that I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about what I would do with that billion bucks. I mean, I had some amazing plans! Spoiler alert: I didn’t win. 

Or how about this: Have you ever been watching your favorite team losing a game where a win is completely hopeless, and yet you keep wishing and dreaming and mentally inventing scenarios where they scrape out the victory? You’re envisioning a big interception for a touchdown, an on-sides kick and a hail Mary that goes down in history, right?

In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says love “always hopes.”  I love this word because it might be the most fun of all the things Paul describes. It’s certainly the most light-hearted and maybe even the most stubborn. In fact, when I think about love always hoping, it helps me to understand it if I just personify hope. Let’s go ahead and do that. Let’s make hope into a person…

What kind of a person is Hope? Well, Hope is fun. She’s an optimist. Hope doesn’t get down easily and she sings all the time. Hope is part inventor, part engineer, part story-teller and part magician. She solves problems. She finds a way to work things out. She sees a path forward when no one else does. She sees the bigger picture. Hope knows how to brain-storm. She’s the ultimate day-dreamer. When everyone else is bored because they are maddeningly stuck in traffic, Hope just made up the funnest game you could ever play in a car that isn’t moving.

When you look up the Greek word that Paul uses for hope, it’s used all over the New Testament and it always has to do with not only wanting something, but really desiring that something and actually expecting it to happen. You see, Hope doesn’t just conjure up a fictional best-case-scenario, but Hope thinks of the most awesome possibility and then anticipates that it’s really going to happen; and there’s a very good reason for that: Hope is a Christian.

Here’s what I mean by that - If you’re a Christian, (if you believe in Jesus) you believe that He is the King of this Universe and completely and totally in control of everything in this world. If you believe in Jesus, you believe that God is always working everything together for the absolute best of those who love Him. That means that when other folks look at the people in your life and see someone annoying, impossible or even totally ridiculous, you see that same person with eyes of hope. You look at that person as if they were your favorite team losing the big game: Sure, it doesn’t look good right now, but the game ain’t over! Any minute now, we’re gonna be giving high-fives after a huge interception and TD! When you look at hard-to-love people with hope, it’s like you’re looking at a winning lottery ticket. You start day-dreaming about what Jesus is going to do with His winnings - in other words, all the awesome stuff that this person is gonna do for the Kingdom. Sure, other folks don’t see much in them, but you don’t care about that because you love them, which means that you are infected with an irresistible desire for their best, and since you know Jesus, you fully expect the best is exactly what’s going to happen.

To see all the WHAT IS LOVE posts, just Click RIGHT HERE.

What Is Love?

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul says that there is only one stat that ultimately matters in your walk with God - one thing that that truly tells the world who you are, and that is your love (or lack thereof). The real question is, how do I grow in love? What does love look like? What does love do, and what does it not do? What is love?

11. Love Sees God At Work

We’ve all seen people at their worst. We’ve all watched folks unravel on a bad day or snap at someone when they’re over the edge. Everyone loses their cool form time to time and the hard thing about being in a relationship with someone is that you have to watch this happen repeatedly. You see, when you really know someone, you see them when they don’t really want to be seen. The closer you are to a person, the more mess you have to see.

This is basically where the rubber meets the road when it comes to love - that is to say, how do you love people when they are hard to love? How do you love someone when they are at their worst?

In verse 7 of 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says that love “always trusts.” What does that mean? Why is love about trusting? Well, that word “trust” is the same Greek word that is translated “believe” in some places and “faith” in others. In other words, when you love someone, you believe stuff about them. You have faith about them. The real question is, what do you believe about them? What faith do you have?

You know, when you’re at your worst, you probably don’t give up on yourself. When you lose your temper or yell at someone or fall into some sin, you probably cut yourself some slack because you know that God lives in you and that He’s at work in your life. You know that Jesus died for you and that He’s not going to stop working in your life until you’re all finished and complete. That is your faith. That right there is what you believe about yourself because of what God has done in your life. You trust that God loves you, is at work in you and isn’t finished with you yet. 

That same trust and faith and belief is what love gives everyone else. In other words, Love believes God is at work in that person who is so hard to love. Love has faith that God hasn’t finished with that person that drives you crazy. Love trusts that God will bring them to completion.

Every week I go to the local jail with two of my best friends to reach out to the guys behind bars with the love of Jesus. Recently we found out that we aren’t the only church group that goes to that jail to do ministry. Thing is, some of the other groups go in there and tell guys how bad they are. They tell the guys that God hates their sin and that if they don’t turn things around, they are going to wind up in hell. You and I both know that this is not the way to do jail ministry. Those guys know they’ve been a mess already. They’re in there paying for their messes. They don’t need yet another person telling them they suck, so when we go in to do our ministry, we take a totally different approach: We tell guys how much God loves them. We tell them that God has a plan for them and wants a life for them that is sweet, filled with joy and totally fulfilling. We tell them that we respect them and we are encouraged by their walk with God and that we believe God is at work in their hearts, making them something new. In short, we love them.

Last week, as we got up leave the jail, one of the guys shook my hand, pulled me into a hug and then said, “I love you, brother. Thank you for coming to see us.” That dude is on fire for the Lord. He’s changing. He’s growing in Christ. In other words, when you decide to look at a person and always trust, you see God at work in them - and that’s because He really is at work. 


If you want to see the rest of these posts about What Love Is, simply Click RGHT HERE.

What Is Love?

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul says that there is only one stat that ultimately matters in your walk with God - one thing that that truly tells the world who you are, and that is your love (or lack thereof). The real question is, how do I grow in love? What does love look like? What does love do, and what does it not do? What is love?

10. Love Doesn’t Get Fed Up

You watched the Avengers movie, right? Of course you did. Everybody watched it. Okay, let’s talk about the Hulk. I’ve loved comic books all my life, but I never read the Hulk comics. I was never all that pumped about some dude that just gets really angry and that’s his thing. I was always like, “What’s the big deal? He’s just angry guy?” As far as I knew, the Hulk’s story went like this: At some point, an experiment went wrong that changed him in such a way that when he gets angry, he just becomes this uncontrollable mass of anger. As a kid who loved comics, that just didn’t appeal to me. Then I watched the Avengers movie and changed the way I felt about the Hulk. The dude doesn’t just hulk-out when he’s angry… turns out he’s always angry! No, the hulking out has more to do with destruction. He doesn’t just lose control when he’s angry - he loses control when he gets hurt and he’s ready to end the situation by force with total destruction.

Okay, so what in the world does the Hulk have to do with the Bible and the Apostle Paul and his teaching on love in 1 Corinthians 13? Well, check this out: Paul says in verse 7 that love “always protects.” Literally, he says that love “covers everything.” That word we have translated ‘protects’ is a word that means to shield or cover up, like with a roof. It’s also used in the New Testament to mean ‘bearing with’ or ‘putting up with.’ In other words, he’s saying that people who love know how to put up with one another. They endure everything.

I was thinking about this and trying to figure out what these words ‘protecting’ and ‘covering’ and ‘enduring’ had to do with each other. I was trying to wrap my head around it when I finally looked up some more verses where this word ‘cover’ or ‘protect’ or ‘endure’ is used. In one place, Paul is talking about how the missionaries have a right to get paid for their ministry, but he says he would rather ‘put up with’ anything than get paid for his ministry. In another place he and his companions were in one place ministering and he says, “When I could stand it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out about your faith.”

So, this word for ‘protecting’ or ‘covering’ has to do with not reaching the end of your rope. When you are completely fed up and you’ve had all you can possibly stand, you act. Or, if you’re able to ‘endure’ it, you don’t act. Maybe you end a relationship. Maybe you tell your other friends, “I’ve had it with her!” or “I’m done with him!” Maybe you’ve heard people say stuff like, “We’re through, here!” Some people say that stuff when a relationship has built up so much hurt that they simply can’t forgive anymore and they just have to end it.

It’s as if we all have this little hulk inside us when it comes to our relationships. If we get too hurt or if someone pushes the right buttons with us, we can let that little hulk lose and he’ll come roaring out and destroy the relationship. If we let the lid off that little hulk, he’ll smash everything, burning bridges and crushing love and declaring things like, “I’m done with you! We’re through!” 

I think what Paul is saying is that the love we have in Jesus is a love that says, “I’ll never get fed up. I’ll never burn this bridge.” The love we have in Jesus is a love that allows us to endure anything and keep the cover on the little hulk. When Paul says that love “always protects,” I think he’s saying that love protects everyone else from me. This love protects other people from the hulk inside me that wants to destroy stuff when I get too hurt. Love shields everyone from the monster that I could be because this love doesn’t get fed up.

To see the rest of the WHAT IS LOVE posts, just click HERE

What Is Love?

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul says that there is only one stat that ultimately matters in your walk with God - one thing that that truly tells the world who you are, and that is your love (or lack thereof). The real question is, how do I grow in love? What does love look like? What does love do, and what does it not do? What is love?

9. Love Sees The Deepest Truth

My dad is a high school football coach and has been for over 30 years. A big part of his job is seeing potential in people that no one else sees, and that they don’t yet see in themselves. His job is to believe in someone and then bring that potential to life by training them in the right way. In some ways, it’s kind of like a speculator or a gambler. Sometimes Dad is right about an athlete no one else believed in who turns out to be this amazing player, and sometimes the doubters are right and these guys flake out and don’t produce. 

In your relationships, you may sometimes feel like my dad does as a high school football coach - it may feel like you’re betting on people and you don’t know what they’re going to end up like. You invest in folks and some of them wind up being your best friends while others may betray you, embarrass you or take advantage of you, hurting you deeply. The question is, what are you supposed to do when someone really screws up? How are you supposed to see a relationship that didn’t pan out like you hoped it would? 

The last thing Paul said about love is that it doesn’t keep score of wrongs - it forgives the way God does. He then goes onto say this: “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

Okay, let’s be honest: When someone hurts us, we want to see them hurt back, right? If someone lets us down, we want to see them crash and burn. If someone out-does us, there is a place in our hearts that wants to see them struggle, fall and fail. It’s not right and it’s not pretty, but dang - that’s who we are. If someone tells us a story about that person in a bad light, we have a private little party in our hearts. On the outside, we’re playing it cool, but in our minds, it’s like our favorite team has just won the Super Bowl - or rather that our least favorite team has lost the Super Bowl…

Paul says love doesn’t do that. He says that love does something different. Love isn’t excited when someone crashes and burns. Love isn’t hoping someone will burn out, and when they do, love doesn’t throw a private, mental party. Love acts in a totally different way, but it’s not like a gambler or a speculator. In other words, loving people isn’t about just looking at someone and betting on them that they will do better next time. Love isn’t like a football coach, hoping against hope that this person will prove everyone wrong. No, love isn’t betting at all. Love knows.

Paul says love rejoices in the truth. Here’s what that means: Imagine there is a piece of land for sale that no one wants because it looks terrible and is in a bad location that seems impossible to develop. For years and years, no one buys it. No one is willing to invest in it because it looks terrible. But, there is a geologist who has this really cool equipment that is able to look under the surface and tell him all kinds of amazing stuff about this land. He finds out that this land is sitting on top of oil or a gold mine or even buried treasure. The land still looks terrible, but that geologist invests in it anyway because he is able to look under the surface at a deeper truth.

That’s what love does. Love sees the surface stuff just like everyone else, but love is able to look under the surface. Love is able to see that there are deeper truths to a person. There are riches underground. Love knows that there are certain things that are true about every single person: That God loves them - that Jesus died for them - That God has a plan for their life and when He gets hold of them, He can and will change them completely. Love doesn’t want people to fail. Love always sees the deepest truth - the truest truth. Love sees everyone with the eyes of God.

To see all the ‘WHAT IS LOVE’ posts, click RIGHT HERE

What Is Love?

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul says that there is only one stat that ultimately matters in your walk with God - one thing that that truly tells the world who you are, and that is your love (or lack thereof). The real question is, how do I grow in love? What does love look like? What does love do, and what does it not do? What is love?

8. Love Doesn’t Keep Score

When Christy and I first moved into the house we live in now, some guy stole some of our out-going mail, opened it, copied down a bunch of personal information from our bills and then proceeded to steal my identity. This dude started opening lines of credit in my name in cities all over the country. He was buying tons and tons of stuff on credit cards with my name printed on them. Then, when he didn’t pay the bills, I started to get in trouble. I had creditors sending me bills for all kinds of bank accounts, credit cards and purchases I had nothing to do with. Friends, it has taken me the better part of four years to clear up the mess made by this guy who stole so much using my name. I have had to follow paper trails, file police reports and on and on to try to clear this mess up. One of the worst parts about it is that my credit is now in shambles. Before my identity was stolen, my credit score was fantastic. Now, on paper, I look like the worst person ever! I have this history I didn’t make that just follows me around. If I went to a store today to buy a new washer and dryer, I would have to charge it to my wife’s credit, or I wouldn’t be able to buy it. The things that guy did have been following me around for years!

Some of you know exactly what it feels like to have your past follow you around. At some point, you did something that really hurt someone in your life, and they simply won’t move past it. I don’t even have to tell you that this is not how love acts, because you know how terrible it feels to have that past wrong hanging over your head. It’s like being in bondage, because no matter what you do or say, they never get over it, which makes you feel like you will always be that person. 

In 1 Corinthians 13:5, Paul says that love ‘keeps no record of wrongs.’ Literally, he says the word ‘not’ and then a Greek word that means to calculate or count and then he uses the Greek word that’s translated other places as evil. In other words, Paul is saying that love doesn’t calculate evil. So, if you’ve done something against someone and they know how to love, they don’t count it against you. Love doesn’t calculate evil.

When I was thinking about this, I asked myself, “Why is that kind of attitude so rare? Why do we keep score of people’s wrongs?” The answer has to do with power. You see, when someone hurts you, you are vulnerable. They did something that had the power to make you feel terrible, but now, by not forgiving them, you hold the power. Holding the grudge and not forgiving that person gives you an edge in the relationship. It gives you the right to just keep on punishing them over and over again for that wrong thing they did. You have an everlasting edge over them relationally and emotionally.

So the question is, why are we supposed to be different than that? Why are we supposed to be the kinds of people who let things go? Why are we supposed to forgive and stop keeping score? Well, that’s really simple: It’s the way God treated us. 1 John 4 says that God is love, so whatever Paul says about love, he is saying about God. Love doesn’t keep score of wrongs because God doesn’t do that. Psalm 103 says, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve.” We have all been a total wreck and God has forgiven us an unbelievable and insurmountable debt of wrong. He gives us a relationship with Him that we could never earn in a billion years, and Paul says at the end of Ephesians 4 that we are supposed to forgive one another just as in Christ God has forgiven us.

People are going to break your heart. People are going to harm your pride and embarrass you. People are going to ruin your day and they are going to be unfair and uncool. People are going to treat you in evil ways, but love doesn’t keep score. Love lets it go. (obviously that doesn’t mean that you should allow an abusive person the opportunity to take advantage of you again - some relationships must end, but forgiveness is still necessary if only for your own heart) 

The One who saw all our wrong and evil has not counted it against us, which means that we have no right to calculate other’s wrongs. Love doesn’t keep score. 

To see all the WHAT IS LOVE posts, Click RIGHT HERE.

What Is Love?

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul says that there is only one stat that ultimately matters in your walk with God - one thing that that truly tells the world who you are, and that is your love (or lack thereof). The real question is, how do I grow in love? What does love look like? What does love do, and what does it not do? What is love?

7. Love Doesn’t Have A Million Hot-Button Issues

One of my favorite shows is a sit-com called, ‘Modern Family’ and during the second season of the show, I noticed that one of the characters kept having these huge, explosive, emotional break-downs where she kept repeating this one phrase, “This is my one thing!” She said Halloween was her one thing. She said Thanksgiving was her one thing. She said her clandestine trips to an indoor firing range were her one thing, and whenever any other family member trespassed into one of those many things that she called her “one thing,” she hit the ceiling and completely lost her mind in a big, public rage. 

Look, there’s no getting around it: We all have hot-button issues. We all have things that send us over the edge. We all have situations or topics that we don’t handle well, or that cause us to lose our rationality. For some people, it’s getting cut off in traffic. For others, it’s when folks are late or when things don’t start on time. Some people simply can’t abide clutter; and for other folks, people who obsess on neatness and order make them insane. We’re all different and we all have different levels of tolerance for different things. Your hot-button issue could be a million things - it could be really anything… and that is really the problem. 

Some people don’t just have one hot-button issue… they have 47 thousand hot-button issues. In other words, there are a million things that take their emotions from zero to sixty in an instant. They can blow up and get distressed, angry, and maddeningly agitated about tons and tons of things and the fact is, there are so many things that set them off, that you never know when you’re going to trip their wires.

When Paul talks about what love looks like in 1 Corinthians 13, he says that love isn’t easily angered. The Greek word that we’ve translated ‘easily angered’ is a word that literally means “a sharp edge, alongside.” In other words, it’s like a poke or a jab that is right beside you… it’s always there. It’s a person who’s always getting jabbed by everything - they’re always emotionally hurt, always finding a really good reason to be pissed. Paul is saying that love isn’t like that. Love isn’t emotionally riled up by everything all the time. 

I said earlier that we all have those hot-button issues… we all have those things that take us from doing just fine to being an emotional mad-house. The question is, what does that mean? Why do we have those hot-button issues? You see, if there is a topic that makes me go from zero to insane in no time flat, it’s because I think that situation is not only wrong, but it’s basically maddening and ridiculous. It means that at some level, I am personally offended by this thing and restitution needs to be made. It means I believe that if you are the person who set me off, you owe me something. You need to back up and make it right.

There are a few problems with this: One, I am just as much of a mess as anyone who has ever walked this planet and I have personally offended the heart of God in more ways than I can ever count and not only has He forgiven and accepted me, but He gave His only Son over to a horrible death for me and for my forgiveness and acceptance. That means that I have no real right to blow up about very many things for the rest of my life because I have been forgiven so much. Not only that, but if I have a ton of hot-button issues… in other words, if that jab is always beside me and I’m always getting stirred up by everything all the time, I have become a person who thinks that the people of planet earth exist to conform to my whims and tastes, and that’s not what love does.

Love knows I have been the worst offender. Love doesn’t get all bent out of shape when offenses happen. Love forgives. Love puts up with others stepping out of line and pushing my buttons. 


To see all of the ‘WHAT IS LOVE’ posts, CLICK HERE

What Is Love?

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul says that there is only one stat that ultimately matters in your walk with God - one thing that that truly tells the world who you are, and that is your love (or lack thereof). The real question is, how do I grow in love? What does love look like? What does love do, and what does it not do? What is love?

6. Love Doesn’t Break All The Rules

Have you ever tried to be friends with one of those people who simply doesn’t know how to be? You know what I mean, right? You want to like ‘em… you even do like ‘em, but dang, it’s hard to be around them and really open your life and heart up to them because these people simply don’t know how to be.

I’m one of the pastors of a little church in East Tennessee. Our church meets in this really old building that was a sort of shopping center back in the days of World War II. When we first bought this place, we made a lot of renovation plans that included knocking down some of the walls and building up some new ones, and before we got started, I just so happened to find the original blue-prints of the building that were drawn up before construction took place back in 1943. Finding those plans was so cool, because it told us which walls we could safely remove and which ones were structurally integral to the building. Those blueprints were the key to really understanding how our building worked. They were the conceptual framework that told us how the whole thing held together best. It was like looking at the rules of our building.

Now, what I’m about to tell you is a little book-ish and heady, but hang in there. Lean in and try to wrap your head around this next part, because it’s worth it. You see, in 1 Corinthians 13:5, Paul says that love “is not rude.” The word Paul used that we have translated, ‘rude’ is a word that means inconsiderate or unbecoming. Literally, it’s the word “schematic” with a little “a” in front of it, which negates the whole word. (Like how the word ‘atypical’ means not-typical) Now, the word ‘schematic’ is the same thing as a blue print. It’s the framework of something - a schematic is just the rules or plan that makes it all work together. In other words, Paul is saying that a loving person is someone who falls in line with the schematics of relationships. A person who knows how to love understands how people work together, whereas a person who doesn’t know anything about love is a person who just does whatever they want, whether it fits or not.

I’m sure you’ve known people who say and do things that are so unbelievably unkind that you are shocked to the core by them. I’m sure you’ve seen folks run their mouths without ever thinking about what it is they’re saying and how much damage they might be doing. Not only that, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve been that guy! I know I have… my mind and mouth have broken people’s hearts and spirits a million times and the worst part about it is that sometimes I’ve crushed people without ever realizing what I’d done! 

You know, buildings are made up of tons of parts that all have to work together in just the right way for the thing to stand and remain sturdy through decades of weather and wear. The blueprint for the building clearly lays out the intentions of the building’s designer. That schematic tells us exactly how every part should interact for the success of the structure. Paul is simply saying that love means realizing that you’re not the only dang person in the world. You aren’t the only thing holding this society up. Love means realizing that your life is filled with people and we all matter.

In Ephesians chapter 4, Paul says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

We’re supposed to be the people making every single effort to build each other up and take care of each other. Some people make no effort whatsoever. But that’s not how love acts. Love We’re not the only people in this. Everyone is important. Everyone has a part to play and something to hold up. Love knows I’m not the only person here. Love doesn’t run with scissors in every single relationship. Love plays by the rules.


To see all the WHAT IS LOVE posts, click right HERE.

What Is Love?

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul says that there is only one stat that ultimately matters in your walk with God - one thing that that truly tells the world who you are, and that is your love (or lack thereof). The real question is, how do I grow in love? What does love look like? What does love do, and what does it not do? What is love?

5. Love Isn’t Always Right About Everything

The most annoying word that you will hear someone else start a sentence with is the word, “Actually.” You see, if someone is talking to you, and they start a sentence with the word “actually,” then they are about to contradict you. They are about to be right, and you are about to be wrong. 


You know what I mean, right? You’re talking to group of people, telling this awesome story that everyone seems to be completely into, when all of a sudden that guy interrupts the whole thing and says something like, “Actually, I’m pretty sure the most common name in the world is Mohammed, but go on.” And you know… you’re thinking, “Dude! What’s up with you? Why would you butt in like that and break the flow of the story just to correct me? Are you just trying to make sure everyone here knows how smart and clever you are?”


Or, have you been in that situation where you’re in the car with a friend or two and you’re singing along to the radio and sure, maybe you don’t know all the words, but you’re giving it all you’ve got, right? And then, out of nowhere, somebody opens their trap and says, “Actually, I think the correct lyric is, “There’s a bad moon on the rise.” And dang… you’re like, “Are you joking me? Did you just stop all the fun we were having and interrupt the singing to make sure that everyone here realizes I’m wrong and you’re right? Dude!”


I bet something like those two scenarios has happened to you, or if you’re like me at all, you’ve been that guy before who simply has to be right all the time about everything. Nobody appreciates that person who corrects everyone all the time. Nobody wants to hang out with that person who always loves hearing the sound of their own voice being right all the time. The Apostle Paul points this out for us in his list of what love is all about by saying that love “is not proud.” Now, the Greek word Paul used for ‘proud’ is a word that means, ‘arrogant’ - well, literally, it means, “puffed up.” I get the image of someone with a big head, all puffed up with hot air that they simply have to spread all over the place.


Paul uses that word ‘puffed up’ a bunch in the New Testament, and in one of those places, (1 Corinthians 8:1) he’s talking about how some people think it’s wrong to eat food sacrificed to idols while others don’t have a problem with it because they know idols aren’t real gods and so it doesn’t really matter. He says that if one person thinks it’s wrong, for them it’s wrong. The other guy who knows better shouldn’t eat sacrificed food in front of the guy who struggles with it just to prove that he’s right about the fact that idols don’t mean anything, because that would be inconsiderate. He says in verse 1, “We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” Paul goes on to say that he would rather be a vegetarian for the rest of his life than offend a brother who has a problem with eating food sacrificed to idols just to make a point.


What Paul is saying is this: Sometimes, you’re going to hear people say stuff you know isn’t exactly true. Sometimes, you’re going know something more accurately than someone else and you’re going to have this desire inside your chest to make that fact known. Paul is simply saying, “Put the brakes on that feeling.” When you know someone else is wrong and you’re right, slow down. Is it really necessary for you to break into this conversation and be right? Or are you just getting a little puffed up? If you’re about to correct someone, why do you want to do it? Is this love, or is it arrogance?


Here’s the truth: People want to be right because they want to win. People want to be right because they have something to prove. They want to be right because they want everyone to think they’re awesome and brilliant. the reason I know this is because I’ve spent the vast majority of my life puffed up beyond all reasonable measure. I’ve gotten to the place where I hate the way it feels to correct people. I want to learn how to love. You see, people who have to be right all the time are people who still need the message of the Gospel to sink down into the deep places of their mind and heart. (I speak from experience) The message of the Gospel is this: I don’t have to be right or good for Jesus to love me and for God to accept me. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I don’t have to be smart or clever or brilliant. In fact, the sooner I admit that I have been wrong and foolish about nearly everything in my life, the sooner I enter into the pure joy of the grace and love of God. When I stop trying to prove how awesome I am all the time, I can actually shut up long enough to listen to other people (right or wrong) and love them for who they are like Jesus did for me. That’s love. Real love doesn’t need to be right.


To see all of the WHAT IS LOVE posts, Click HERE

What Is Love?

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul says that there is only one stat that ultimately matters in your walk with God - one thing that that truly tells the world who you are, and that is your love (or lack thereof). The real question is, how do I grow in love? What does love look like? What does love do, and what does it not do? What is love?

4. Love Isn’t All About Me

Have you ever seen those bumper stickers that say something like, “My kid is an honor student at Snooty Heights Private School”? I can’t stand those bumper stickers because who knows… I might have actually liked your kid if you hadn’t put that stupid sticker on your car. 


Or how about this - do you have one of those people in your facebook timeline who posts a million statuses every day, and they’re all about how awesome and perfect their day was and how awesome and perfect their family and friends are? You know what I’m talking about… they write stuff like this: “Today I made an all organic dinner that was amazing right after finishing my yoga-master-training-course and picking up little Timmy from junior symphony rehearsals. Just another great day! ;)”   - I mean, right?


I guess the worst of all is just hanging out with someone who simply can’t stop talking about themselves. You know these people, don’t you? Every conversation finds a way back into their favorite subject… themselves. It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about. Everything from Russian politics to marine biology reminds them of that one time when they did this really awesome thing… They’re constantly saying stuff like, “Oh man, have I ever told you about the time I saved city council? Oh I have? Well, let me tell you about it all over again, because I’m just still so amazed that I managed to do that, aren’t you?”


Here’s the thing. None of us can stand to hang with people who only talk about themselves and brag about how awesome they are and obsess on all the things that are interesting and cool about them. You wanna know why we can’t stand to hang with them? Here it is, plain and simple: It makes the rest of us feel like crap. 


When a person obsesses on themselves all the time, It makes the people around them feel like their own life is pointless by comparison. How can anyone measure up, right? That person is so amazing and so interesting, that they literally can’t think of anything else to talk about but themselves. The thing is, people like this are just bragging. They only talk about themselves because they are desperately trying to find out who they are. They don’t seem like it, but they are actually the most insecure people in the room. These desperately insecure people are using every relationship they have in order to make them feel better about themselves.


Let’s look at the other side of this, because Paul tells us that love - real love - is different. Paul says that love doesn’t do that thing that makes everyone feel like crap about themselves. Love makes people feel amazing about themselves. Love doesn’t brag. Love doesn’t boast. Love doesn’t make every conversation revolve around me and what I’m doing. Love isn’t all about me. Love is all about you. Love cares about who you are and what you’re into and what you’re feeling. Love cares about what you need. Real love makes you feel like a rock star. Real love makes you feel like the most important and the most interesting person in the room. 


One of my best friends is a named Devon. Devon is a very cool and extremely interesting person, but he doesn’t make everything about himself. I’ll never forget when my wife and I really hung out with him for the first time. He asked Christy about herself and her life. He asked her about her kids and what it feels like to be a mom. (And folks, that’s not something that happens to moms a whole lot) He asked her questions about herself. He listened to her answers. That’s how love works. Love doesn’t talk the whole time. Love wants to hear you talk and love wants nothing more than to listen. 


The reason love isn’t all about me is that love doesn’t need to use relationships in order to find out who they are. A person who knows how to love already knows who they are. They know that Jesus loves them eternally even though they haven’t been all that amazing. They know that they are precious to God and nothing will ever change that fact. These folks believe those truths so deeply, they don’t need to prove who they are by bragging about everything all the time. Since they already know who they are, they want to know who you are. That’s love. Real love makes you feel loved.

To see all of the What Is Love posts, just click HERE.