The word love is used a lot.
“I love this grilled cheese sandwich.”
“I loved that movie.”
“Does she/he love me?”
There are also a lot of “hearts” being used today in response to social media hits.
In a way, this is all fine.
But there’s a danger to throwing the word love around flippantly. When we dumb love down, our definition of love becomes far less that what God really intended.
The Bible uses the word love a lot as well. One word for love often translated from the Hebrew language is hesed. Hesed is used 247 times in the Old Testament. It is difficult to translate hesed into English but it is a word partially meant to describe faithful action, a constant pres-ence and a caring that involves sacrifice. It doesn’t mean so much “you make me feel good” but more like “I’ll be with you through thick and thin”. That’s part of God’s love for us!
The most well-known passage in the Bible of love is probably I Corinthians ch. 13. Patience, kindness, humility and being slow to anger are some of the characteristics Paul uses to describe the nature of biblical love. When we read the whole chapter we realize it is a struggle to prac-tice this model of unselfish affection. A big reason for this is because such a godly expression of caring doesn’t come naturally for us. Pure Christian love puts the other person ahead of our own interests, even when our humanity wants us to put our self . . . first. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit that helps us learn how to care deeply for others.
We are called as Christians to love God, and love those around us. (Mark 12:30-31) Love is a word loaded with many meanings. It is more than just a feeling. As we approach Valentine’s Day and the season of love, remember that experiencing the affection and love of God in our personal lives and demonstrating it to others are two of the greatest joys in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ.