Understanding love: What is it, how does is work?

Published 5:40 am Sunday, October 13, 2019

By Timothy Johnson

Preacher’s Point

“I love you” are words that seem to be said, either too often or far too little.

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I know people where it seems, “I love you” is interchangeable with “hello” and “goodbye.”

On the other end of the spectrum are people who, if they said, “I love you,” smelling salts would be needed for the people around them, as everyone would faint. My dad was like that. I was in my 50s before he ever said that phrase to me. It is not that he did not love me; he was a man that did not express emotions.

Some never say, “I love you” because they do not have much, if any, love in their hearts.

What is love? Is it an emotion? A feeling? Something we will never understand?

Sometimes, it seems, love is natural, something we cannot help. A mother toward her children, for example. Often, we expect love to be that way in all cases — we will meet someone, and for whatever reason, we fall in love with them.

Love often seems not to last. No couple walking down the aisle in holy matrimony is thinking of filing for divorce in five years, but unfortunately, it happens far more than it should. Was it love at all?

I believe there is a general lack of understanding about love, what it is, and how it works. Here are my seven love laws, including the reasoning behind each.

Love law No. 1: Love is a choice.

God commands us to love (Matthew 22:37-40; Ephesians 5:25). As with all of God’s commandments, He gives us a choice to obey Him or not. Yes, there will be consequences when we disobey, but He will not force us to comply. Therefore, if God commands us to love, we have the choice to love or not. Also, something about God’s commands – — He will never command something we are incapable of doing; therefore, we are capable of loving.

Love law No. 2: The action of love is giving.

God sets the example here. Because of God’s love for humanity, He sent His Son to die on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins. Because He loves us, He gave His Son (John 3:16). Also, 1 Corinthians 13 is known as the “love chapter.” In the King James Bible, the word “love” never appears in the “love chapter.” The word is “charity” appears instead. Again, by having the “love chapter” repeat the word “charity” over and over instead of the word “love,” God is showing us that true love will always give.

Love law No. 3: When you love someone or something, you will give yourself to them (or it).

No. 2 explains this, but a word on loving a thing — people will love specific things and, will give themselves to it. However, things can never love us in return; the result is emptiness.

Love law No. 4: The opposite of love is not hate; it is selfishness. If the essence of love is giving, the opposite is taking. We take when we are selfish. The selfishness of one or both parties has destroyed many marriages. Often people subconsciously equate love with physical attraction. The physical may sustain a relationship for some time, but the result is the same as loving a thing – emptiness. This emptiness, however, causes much more heartache as people wonder where the love went, never realizing that love was never actually there.

Love law No. 5: Love can lead to the greatest joy possible when two people give themselves entirely to each other.

Find a couple married for 40 plus years, observe them, and talk to them about their life together. Usually, you will find two people devoted to each other, and even memories of the bad times will bring twinkles to the eyes.

Love law No. 6: Love can lead to tremendous sorrow when one or both people choose selfishness.

One thing about selfishness — it can never get enough. If there is a loving person in a relationship with someone selfish, they will be left drained, often unwilling to love again. All selfish people in the relationship are left unfulfilled because they can never take enough. Selfish people will treat others the same way they handle a beverage can. Once they have drained everything out of it they want, the can is discarded and cast to the side.

Love law No. 7: If we allow the fear of number six to keep us from loving, we, have chosen selfishness.

1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

Timothy Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Kingman, Indiana. Email: preacherspoint@gmail.com. Sermons and archived Preacher’s Points can be found at www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com.