Season: 2 Episode: 015
In our culture today we hear that “love is love”, “love for all” or we express love over an object by saying, “Wow! I love this latte!” We’re so used to hearing this word used and abused we forget what love really is. God doesn’t ask us to love our neighbor; He demands it. So, how do we know if someone loves us and how do we know if we’re showing love to others? We’re going to dive deep into the meaning of love in this podcast episode and shed some light on what it means to love by God’s definition.
“Your love is not proven in the words you speak but the action you take.”
“Your confession of love is only justified when the action of love is evident.”
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Welcome back, my friend. You are listening to episode 15 of Her Faith Inspires. We are getting into season 2 and it is all about relationships.
I’m really excited to kick off the theme of relationships this season, so get ready for a content packed 12 weeks where we dive into all kinds of topics that discuss dating, conflict, friendship breakups, marriage, gender roles, etc, etc, etc.
I am going to have some guests on who can shed a little light on some of the episode topics you suggested and answer some of the questions you suggested we tackle.
Here’s what I want you to remember as you listen to this podcast … I want to provide content that gives you practical and biblical suggestions for real life issues that we face every day.
So, if you have a question, idea, suggestion or anything send it to me. I’ll leave the email address in the show notes and provide the info at the end of this episode.
Today, I thought of no better topic for our first episode on relationships than this one. If we do not have this as the foundation to any relationship … friends, relatives, spouses … then the relationship has no foundation and it’s doomed from the start.
Do you know what that is? Love.
Now, I know this is common sense and a no brainer, really. And it seems simple enough. However, it seems as though we’ve lost the true definition of love in our culture today.
I mean, think about it. We have so many different sayings that involve the word love these days. For example:
*Love is love.
*Love for all.
*You have to love yourself first.
*Even in some of our expressions we throw the word love around when we say, “Oh, I love my new shoes.” Or … “I love that song.”
When we throw phrases like this around it can become very confusing to define what love really is. Are we talking about being in love? Are we talking about being affectionate? Is it about the kind of love we have for our children or spouse? Are we talking about the dessert we had after dinner last night?
And that’s what we’re going to address today. We are going to tackle the questions …
1) What is love?
2) How do I know if I’m showing love and how do I know if someone loves me?
3) Is it love or lust? What’s the difference and how can we tell?
So, let’s get into the first question … what is love?
In the English language we have many uses for the word love, and because of this, it’s lost its power and depth in many ways.
Even our own English dictionary defines love as “an intense feeling or deep affection.”
The second definition is a “deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.”
Again, this is how the world defines love, and I can tell you right now this is wrong. In order to truly define what love is, we have to define love God’s way.
The origin of love comes from God because as 1 John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God and whoever loves has been born of God and loves God.”
Again, our word for love is used in many different ways. But the Greek translation that we read in the Bible, has different words that describe the different types of of love described in the Bible. They are …
agape: unconditional or God love. It is the highest form of love. This is God’s love for man and man’s love for God. It is does not depend on affiliation or familiarity.
philia: friend bond, familial, fondness, affection, delight.
eros: romantic love, sexual or passionate.
Storge: fondness born out of familiarity or dependency. More like a familial love. You love your parents because they raised you.
This let’s us know there is a different intensity for the type of affection we feel towards one another, however, the definition of love doesn’t change.
In order to understand what love really is, we have to go back to 1 Corinthians 13.
We often hear this passage quoted at weddings and many, many people know this passage of scripture. But what we must understand is that in this chapter, God defines what love is and what love is not. No matter if it pertains to a husband and wife, a parent-child relationship or a friendship.
Again, the definition of love is the same although the intensity in which my affection grows for them may be different. For example, I love my husband with more intensity than I love my friend. I love him with an eros love. I love my friend with a philia love.
Any kind of love is defined by the things we see in 1 Corinthians 13. Instead of reading this passage to you, I want to pull out the things love is from this passage and then we will go from there.
So, according to 1 Corinthians 13, what is love? First of all, in verse 1, Paul says love is more than words. And if you really read those first 3 verses, Paul said even if he did some amazing things that changed the world … without love they mean nothing.
So, a person who does things without love is a noise maker and an attention seeker. So, how do we know the difference? It’s always by the action.
Here’s what I mean. Paul tells us love is patient, kind, rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
OK, so that’s a lot of words, right? But notice how all of the things mentioned involve someone else. We usually lose patience with people. We show kindness to people. Love always has a reciprocator. What does that mean? Love is shown to someone.
When we show all the things love is … patience, kindness, truth, bearing all things and believing all things, we are living the actual definition of love.
So, who do we have to love? We have to love everyone. Say, what? Everyone? Yes, even those annoying people on Facebook you want to get into a political argument with and call names.
As Christians, we are not exempt from showing love to all people and just because it’s on social media doesn’t mean we have a pass from showing love.
If you go to Mark 12:30-31, Jesus says the first commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. OK. That makes sense, right?
But look at verse 31. He says the second command is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. I don’t want to get into self-love too much today because I plan on doing a podcast episode on that, but here’s a short snippet … God never called you to love yourself. He called you to love your neighbor as yourself.
Why? Because we already think pretty highly of ourselves. Just because you struggle with self-esteem doesn’t mean you don’t look out for number 1. The reason Jesus said to love your neighbor as you love yourself is because He knows we take care of ourselves pretty well.
Show love to your neighbor and think about them first. Let them have the best seat at the movies. Give them the last slice of pizza. Encourage them to go in front of you in line.
We want those things and most of the time we will fight to get them. If you think of your neighbor first, you’ll be more likely to show kindness, patience and all the things that describe love when you do.
Now remember, we’re talking about the definition of love here. This is how God wants us to show love to everyone. So, anyone that is not you is your neighbor. Even your spouse, your children, your friends, the homeless guy on the street corner.
Love puts itself aside for the sake of someone else. That is hard!
In 1 John 4:20, The Bible tells us, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”
We can look at that word “hate” and excuse ourselves form this verse. But in reality, that just means we don’t show love, support, bear with, or show kindness to a brother or sister in Christ.
Again, it doesn’t matter what we say. Love will always be shown, displayed, and evident in how we treat others. If you go around talking poorly about your neighbor, you don’t love God even though you claim to.
When the Bible tells us love hopes all things, that means love is positive. It believes positively and it hopes for the best in others. It sees the best in others. And hope causes us to pray and trust God for what can be.
How do I know if someone loves me?
I don’t know about you, but I hate it when people say “I love you” and don’t act like it. I grew up with a very affectionate family and we said, “I love you” all the time. But we hugged, talked, and supported one another.
My husband grew up in a family that never said the words I love you. They didn’t really hug each other or anything. So imagine his surprise when he showed up to family gatherings and got kisses, hugs and lots of love.
He said he thought we were weird.
But saying, “I love you” isn’t as important as showing people you love them. What we have to understand is that love is a verb. It’s action. And every description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 is not an adjective (just a little grammar lesson … adjectives are the words we use to describe nouns. Adverbs such as quickly, or slowly, etc are used to describe verbs).
In 1 Cor 13, the words used to describe love are other verbs: patient, kind, etc. If you want to know if someone loves you, ask yourself, “Is that person showing me love?”
Now, here’s where it can get tricky … it’s not your definition of love. It’s God’s. We always have to take it back to 1 Cor 13 to see if that person is acting in a way that shows you love. I cannot say that my husband doesn’t love me because he didn’t load the dishwasher.
Is he showing love by being kind to me? Does he treat me with respect and doesn’t get jealous over my time and attention where he becomes controlling?
We can’t say our friends don’t show love because they don’t like our FB post. That is not the definition of love according to 1 Cor 13.
So, here’s what I suggest when it comes to identifying whether or not someone loves you …
Align their actions to the description of love in 1 Cor. Are their actions patient, kind? Do they rejoice with you or avoid praising your accomplishments? Do they bear the bad with the good? How about believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself? Are they out for themselves, seeking their own interests within the relationship? Meaning … are you giving to the relationship more than they’re giving? Are they jealous of you, your friends, what you have, or your accomplishments?
We don’t have to guess or wonder if others love us. We have God’s description of love to measure every action up against that goes beyond the words. This is how we know we’re loved.
How do we know we love others?
It’s pretty much the same concept. Are our actions aligning to the description of love according to God’s word? Not only that, we cannot and should not say the words “I love you” in everyday conversation. Especially if your actions do not show it.
I feel like words are too easy these days. Way too easy. And a lot of times we think if we say them it validates the inaction of love. That’s just not true. Jesus said for every idle (empty) word we speak we will give an account.
Idle means without purpose. It’s not effective. If we only say we love and we do not show love, our words mean nothing and are ineffective.
So again, there are different degrees of love. I don’t love anyone like I love my husband. And I don’t love anyone with the intensity in which I love my children. But the description is the same. The way I show love to each person, no matter the degree, is still with kindness, patience, not envying them, etc.
And what we need to remember is that showing love isn’t about the giver. It’s about the receiver. You cannot love an object. Love is meant to be given to another other human being. Love is self-sacrificing. It’s not about what makes me feel good or what I like … it’s about loving another person the way God describes … sacrificially.
So, my husband and I were talking about this on a drive and he said he somewhat disagreed. He told me if my grandma passed down a ring to me before she died, I would love that ring. It would be priceless to me. So, he said, it is possible to love things or objects.
I disagree. Again, we have to go back to 1 Cor. How can I show kindness and not envy or boast against an object? Those attributes of love are meant to be shown to other people.
The reason I am fond of the object is because it has become sentimental to me … but only because grandma used to own it. It’s a piece of her I carry with me. So, in reality, who made that object valuable? The person I love.
Does that make sense? I’m gonna assume you’re nodding your head in agreement.
Ok, last point …what’s the difference between lust and love?
Lust is tied to sexual desire. Jesus tells us it’s a sin to lust after someone in their hearts. A lot of times we may feel this at the beginning of a new relationship. The attraction, the affection, and spending time together causes us to be more aware of sexual desire and cause us to lust.
It’s really that simple. It’s strongly linked to the carnal nature. There’s a story in 2 Samuel 13, where David’s son Amnon said he was in love with his sister Tamar. The bible said he wanted her so badly he became sick.
She was a virgin and he didn’t think he could have her. But he got some terrible advice from an ungodly friend and he told Amnon to pretend he was sick and ask for Tamar to nurse him back to health.
Well, she came in and when everyone left the room he raped her after she begged him not to.
And here’s the difference between love and lust … once he was done with her the Bible said he hated her more than he had loved her.
When you compare lust and love, there is no comparison. Lust is selfish and all about the one who wants to be gratified. Love is giving and has nothing to do with the one who loves but everything to do with the one who receives the love.
So, what’s our responsibility when it comes to showing love?
I always bring this back to two things with God?
- In my relationships, how do I show love no matter what the other person decides to do?
The answer is acting according to God’s word. If there’s a conflict, I go to that person and TRY to resolve it. I pray for myself to show love when it’s hard (because let’s face it, it is sometimes), and I ask God for wisdom on how to handle the situation.
2) I always ask myself how to remain upright and blameless in my relationships. The answer is always going back to God’s word and making sure my actions align to what He requires of me.
People don’t have to earn your love. You know why? Because you can’t earn God’s love. You just have to show you love Him but showing love to others.
Again, not always easy. But that is how we remain in good standing with God. How can I accept His love and not show love to others?
And remember this … no one can tell you you don’t love if your actions align to 1 Cor 13. Because that is the only definition of love that matters. God wrote the definition of love and no one can change that.
I know we covered a lot today. I feel like we went deep and talked about a lot. This may have stirred up some questions and if it did, you know you can email me at email@example.com.
If you missed anything or want the script to today’s episode, you can find it on my website in the show notes. Like I said before, this is the foundational episode to season 2 and I really pray you understand what love is.
And while you meditate on these things, don’t forget how loved you are by God. Not because of what you have done or who you are, but because He is God and He created you for His good pleasure.
I’ll catch you on the next episode, my friend. Until then, show the love.