by Steven Attalla
I would like to start off with a question. How do you define love? Before you continue reading, take a few moments to really think about it.
The word ‘love’ is used so much in the world and it is generally linked with some sort of worldly or materialistic act. For example, Valentine’s Day. A day where partners spoil each other with expensive dinners and gifts and we as a society have accepted this as a form of love. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that but as Christians, we are taught a much deeper form of love – a type of love that we struggle to express.
When I was in Sunday School, our servant used to ask the class questions about the lesson and the first question that would always get asked was,”What did you learn from today’s lesson?” Ofcourse, that was a tactic used to see who was really listening and paying attention. So the emergency answer that was commonly used (and was known to never be the wrong answer) was, “God is love”. We’ve said it a million times and we’ve heard about it a billion times, but have we ever dwelt on these three short words?
1 Corinthians Chapter 13 is the most well-known passage about love (If you’ve never read it, I suggest you stop here and have a read of it). The last verse of that passage is ‘and now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love’ (1 Corinthians 13:13). We learn here that love trumps all. That love overpowers all other characteristics. Why though? Why is love so powerful? The answer to that is the same answer that was used in all emergency sunday school situations – God is love. The purest form of love is nonexistent if God does not exist in your life. God simply is love. He is the essence of love. You cannot understand love without being exposed to God.
There is something quite remarkable about the concept of love. When we are loved, it feels as though our hearts are receiving a massive hug. We feel warm and safe around those that portray a genuine love. This is the feeling that God radiates. When we are in His Fatherly embrace, we are presented with this ultimate gift. I always wondered what it would feel like being around Christ when He was on the Earth. I envy the multitudes that would surround him on a daily basis because they received the greatest experience of witnessing the finest and most purest form of love. Imagine, just sitting there, on the mountain where Christ gave the sermon. Imagine looking up and admiring the Creator of life. The true essence of Love. It has always been something I wished I had experienced.
We always associate love with the heart and many times in the bible we read about how important it is to look after your heart – “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). So if love belongs in the heart and God is Love, then it is very clear as to where God belongs. Our hearts should be considered as a palace for our King. Now ask yourself, is your palace made up of a strong structure or is it in ruins? We are called to reflect the image of God. The image of Love. If our hearts are not embedded with the essence of God then we won’t have the capacity to reflect His love. We must first draw to Him in order to be like Him. When you draw closer to fire, you become warm. The heat attaches itself onto you and shares with you its warmth. Similarly, when you draw near to the source of love, it will attach to you and reflect upon your personality.
Love is powerful and it can cause dramatic changes in a person’s life. Through His love, people began to follow Him. Through His love, Zacchaeus flipped his lifestyle. Through His love, the right hand thief repented. Through His love, He died for me and defeated death. Here is a scenario that I would like you to imagine. When Christ died on the Cross, He descended into Hades. Abraham, Issac, Job, Jeremiah and all the Old Testament greats were residing in Hades until this moment. Can you imagine what they would’ve felt when they saw Christ enter Hades to take them out? They would’ve felt this whirlwind of comfort surround them. They would’ve felt so safe and full of joy to see their Saviour. This feeling is quite similar to how we feel when someone loves us at our very lowest. It’s like for a split moment, we forget what has been hurting us. That is the power of love and that is why we need to exercise it more often for through love, we are able to change circumstances. We are able to bring a light to someone’s darkness. We are able to bring hope to those who feel hopeless. We are able to bring comfort to those who are feeling afraid.
If we all loved, the world would be in a much greater state. But because the world rejects God, it rejects love. When love is absent, hatred fills the void. I urge every one of us to start a relationship with God. If your heart is in ruins, start the construction. Get to know God and let Him help you build a wonderful palace so that He could reside in you. Once He is in your heart, you will become one with Him; you will become one with Love.
“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16)
Glory be to His name forever, Amen.