True love, ah, it is what we dream of as children, as we listen to fairy tales with happy ever after endings.
It is what we truly believe we are experiencing as we slip the note marked check YES or NO in our second grade class.
True love is what you thought you found when you were asked to dance at your first middle school dance.
You were certain it was true love during your first kiss and on your first date.
Certainly true love was that summer fling, high school sweetheart, and college romance.
True love may have become reality for you when you vowed to spend forever with your spouse or when you held your baby for the first time.
Maybe you haven’t yet experienced true love for yourself, but your understanding is derived from observing other people’s romantic relationships and watching sappy chick flicks with your friends.
It is safe to say we all have our own definition of what it means to find “true love.”
Merriam-Webster defines love as a noun: a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.
John writes in 1 John as an older gentleman prior to his exile to Patmos (85-90 AD). John’s letter was not written to one specific church, but to many gentile churches. His hopes were to teach and encourage believers in faith and love and to help them identify false prophets.
By this time in John’s life he had quite the experience in life. He was the oldest living disciple who had walked hand in hand with Jesus. He had witnessed the face of God as Christ in flesh. He watched as Jesus calmed the storms, healed the sick, made the blind see, the deaf hear, the mute speak, and the lame walk. He watched Him walk on water, feed the masses, cast out demons, and saw His transfiguration.
John heard Jesus teach, preach, prophesy, and rebuke the religious elite with his own ears. He watched Jesus serve others, eat with sinners, and love on those of ill repute. He witnessed Jesus endure false accusations, trumped charges, beatings, His trial, and His crucifixion.
John watched Jesus hang on a cross as he died for him and the sins of the world. John saw His body placed in a tomb, and he saw an empty tomb three days later. Lastly, John saw the resurrected Christ and heard His great commission before His ascension. John witnessed love in action and as a person.
We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:19 (NLT)
It is not in humankind’s power to love apart from God. I mean truly love.
How can we love if we have not received love from Him first through His forgiveness? Do we love others with the love of Christ, and what does that look like?
Ask Yourself the Following:
1) Am I loving with expectations?
I do good deeds, say nice things, work in the church, make donations, and serve others expecting something in return (i.e., a thank you, a favor, recognition, a receipt, acceptance, people to meet my standards, etc.).
2) Am I loving with manipulation?
I find it hard to love others unless they are doing for me or things are going my way on my terms (i.e., behavior, attention, self-focus, vengeance, stipulation, etc.).
3) Am I loving unfaithfully?
I find it hard to continue to love others if they don’t meet my expectations or standards. I give up on friends and loved ones whom I become disappointed in, hurt by, or angry with. I put into a relationship what I feel as if I am receiving or what I feel like the other one deserves.
Do you want to find true love and love like Jesus?
Start asking Jesus to meet the desires and needs in Himself that you crave from earthly relationships. Ask Him to be your source of complete and perfect love.
I promise you will start to truly love people the way He first loved you. You will love others without anything in return. You will love them in spite of how you are treated, and you will love them no matter what they are going through or struggling with. Jesus will be allowed to love through you. I love you and I am always praying for you.
When was the first time you experienced Jesus loving through you?
Can you remember a time when Jesus displayed His love for you through someone else?
Please share in the comments. We love to hear from you.
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