Well, we have come to the penultimate post of this series, and I am so proud because we finally get to answer the question of “What is Love?”. We’re going to take a look at, all that we’ve learned and place it all together into a final answer. I sincerely hope, that all of you can take this back with you and help defend the hope you have in salvation with this information. Love is so foundationational to our faith, and it is the most misunderstood and oft times twisted concept in our beliefs.
While writing this series, and this blog in reality, I wanted to bring to the forefront what many churches have neglected for so long: the combination of doctrine, faith, philosophy, ethics and science into a synchronocity that can appeal to all walks of life, and while many will give a long winded response to how we don’t really understand what love is or the more scientifically minded may give an explanation about chemicals and hormones in the body and brain, I want the Christian to firmly answer the question with conviction. Love isn’t tolerance, it isn’t attraction, it isn’t indifference or kindness or patience. Love is simply, an act of will.
There we go, that’s the answer to the past six posts, and the question that I started way back in May. Love is an act of will, it is a choice.
You could pack up, go home and say, “ Well, I’ll wait for the next series, I got my answer.”, Or you can stick around to actually understand what that act of will is and exactly how it manifests from our Creator to the Christian. There will be one last post after this one detailing the application of love towards others, but for right now we’re going to go over what it means to love with your will.
Traditionally in the Christian faith, Agape has been used to describe “Divine” love or perfected love as the Apostle John would call it. In English we may say it is an “unconditional” love, which somewhat describes the idea of it, but what makes it unconditional is not the feeling, but the act.
Let’s take a step farther back to understand just how this works. Romans 5:8 tells us that “God proves His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This verse is said hundreds of times from pulpits a week ad nauseam I garauntee it. While it is a very important verse, the reality is, many churches won’t actually pull out of it what is needed. God sent His only son to die in order that a final sacrifice could be made to break the curse of sin. Churches stop there.
How does this exactly show the divine love I talked about earlier?
It just seems like God was once again dealing with humanity in an extraordinary way, just like the flood, just like Babble, just like Egypt and so on. God made a very determined choice to estrange himself from himself for a time to provide a fitting sacrifice for the whole human race. God wasn’t attracted to man as the hellenistic temple would suggest, He didn’t pity man as some of the eastern myths tell of their spirits, and He didn’t feel a familiar kinship to man as the Devas tell us. Man is His creation and He made a choice (multiple times actually) that He wouldn’t abandon us, that once and for all through pain, suffering and humiliation He would become that sacrifice to Save us.
That is what love is. Furthermore we’re going to look at another very important scripture on Love. 1 John 4 goes into detail about God’s love. 1 John 4:12 specifically tells us how we are to show we are “in God”, it states: “No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us.” Interestingly enough, John uses the word agape once again to make a point. If we love (Agape) one another….His love (Agape) is made complete in us. John is saying in this verse and in the whole passage that if we choose to love not based on emotion, or attractiveness or familiarity, but solely based on will, that will show God in us towards others and then full circle, God’s love will be made complete in us as well.
Society teaches us “Love is Love” like it is all equal. Unfortunately, it is not. Human types of love are mere fractured copies of divine love. Neither is love, God. We are being conditioned to think these phrases not only by society but also apostates that parade themselves around as Christians to gain approval. When it comes down to love being a choice and demonstrably that choice isn’t what everyone considers “love”, then what does that leave the Christian. Either he/she must defend himself/herself and show that their faith is just or they must be once again relegated to a disagreement of personal opinion.
Finally, we must realize why exactly this love is divine. Is this love divine because God gives it to us? Is it divine because it is sacred? Is it divine because it is infinitely better than human’s love?
None of these are true. Divine love or love by willpower is divine simply because it requires the individual to think before they act. It requires the individual to pare down all emotion and to provide an account to themselves of why they are choosing to love another person. This goes all the way back to the first lesson, of the purpose of man.
Man was created in God’s image, and since God is incorporeal we were not physically created in His image. Our minds however were created in His image. Our intelligence was created in His image. The single divine gift given to every human being is their intelligence and the ability to use that intelligence to grasp experience, risks, outcomes, and rewards in order to make choices.
As Christians, the reason why we are commanded to love is simply because God knows intimately that we are able to, at the end of the day all obedience is a choice and as un-romantic as it sounds, love is no different.