Love: a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person, attraction by people in a romantic relationship
That is what love is defined as according to Webster’s, and probably what most people would say love is if you asked them. Most people would say love is what they feel towards their significant other, or maybe their parents, or a close friend. Love is often described as a feeling that you have, but it is often hard to define exactly what it is.
love is a verb
In these verses John sheds some light into the struggle that we I have in fully understanding what it means to love someone. Thankfully, John says that even more important than being able to describe to someone how you feel about them, is the way that you treat other people, what you do for them. Essentially, John is trying to tell us that love is something that is so much greater than a feeling. In the words of John Mayer (don’t judge me), “love is a verb”. Most people will admit that the way they feel towards someone may change based on circumstances, the way they are treated by them, whether or not they have the same beliefs, or whether or not they look the same. If love was limited simply by the way that we felt, we wouldn’t be able to love like Christ has called us to love those around us. Jesus didn’t come to only tell the world that He loved them, instead He chose to show the world that He loved them by sacrificing His life on the cross. Because of the love that Jesus demonstrated for us, we are then called to love those around us by the way we serve them, treat them, and pursue them. Verse 19 says that it is by loving people in this way that we can confidently be in God’s presence and know that we are His.
So practically what does it look like to make love a verb in our lives? One way is by taking an interest in the lives of those we are closest to. You could check in with your best friend or roommates and see how they are actually doing. Not on the surface, but actually in their heart. Another practical way to love might be taking notice of the people around you that you normally wouldn’t take notice of. Go and talk to the people who you normally wouldn’t ever talk to. I think the most practical way of demonstrating love to someone is by caring enough for them to break the silence and invest in their life.
You can pray this with me.
“Thank you for first showing me what looks like Jesus. Holy Spirit, help me to love the people around me how you would love them. Give me your eyes and your heart for them. Will you take the ordinary, everyday actions that I do and transform them into moments of your love being shown to people. Put practical things on my heart that I can do to serve and love who you have placed in my life. Amen.”
- Nick Spencer