College was an interesting time for me, especially that first semester. I can still recall walking into my first English class. The professor appeared a few minutes later and introduced himself to us. Then he gave us our first assignment. He asked us to take a few minutes and to write out our definition for love. I found this very simple exercise to about what is love not to be simple at all.
How do you define love?
I pose the question to you. How do you define love? If you are seeking it don’t you think it would be a good idea to have a definition for what you are seeking?
Emails continue to pour into me about a lost ‘love.’ The emails usually begin with how this person met an unbelievable person and the sparks flew. There is no doubt in their mind that God brought this person into their lives to be their mate. How enjoyable those first few weeks, or sometimes months, were until suddenly the person disappears. I certainly do not want to make fun of God working in our lives, but the occurrence is so frequent that it causes me to wonder if God was really working or if two hungry and needy people met on their journey.
Love is a powerful force, but so is neediness, and sex. My objective view provides me with the insight that these are often confused in their presence.
Love doesn’t happen instantly
Friend, love is not something that pops up at first glance. Years of relating to single adults and their relationships have caused me to realize that love is not something that happens instantly. I do see attraction and compatibilities surfacing quickly, but not love. Allow me to broaden my thought for you the true meaning of what is love?
One quick test of love is whether or not a storm has been weathered. If the relationship has not had to endure any challenges or differences, then they are merely on the surface of a ‘potential’ love.
The following areas of a relationship must receive, at least, a passing grade before one can begin to think that love is truly present:
- Is consideration being demonstrated for the needs, thoughts, and positions of each other on a regular basis?
- Do each of you seek to put the needs of the other first?
- Is there any resentment of an advantage that the other person enjoys?
- Does one of you feel a need to brag about any area of your life to make you feel worthy?
- Does anyone think more of themselves than they should?
- Are all feelings validated and given consideration without embarrassment or ridicule?
- Is continuous effort made to serve each other or is there a need by anyone to be served?
- Are you afraid to discuss any topic for fear of an outburst from the other person?
- Does either of you keep track of past mistakes made by the other person?
- Can both of you accept when you are wrong and place the truth higher than personal positioning?
- Do both of you feel protected?
- Is there any circumstance where you cannot trust each other? Do each of you trust God with the future?
- Do both of you look forward to tomorrow, no matter what it brings your way?
- Have you weathered several storms/crises to know that your relationship will stay the course?
These are the essential elements that must be in place before one can begin to find love. Anything short of this is, at best, the potential of love. At worse the condition is but a self-serving activity that will soon reveal itself in a painful manner.
How do I know that the above elements of love are a true definition of love? If you have not realized what I was sharing above I will share it with you now:
“What is love?”
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
God must be amazed and saddened to see how we beg of Him to bless our lives, but then choose to ignore His Word to live our lives. This is not a preacher thing. I challenge you to read my fourteen questions again and answer the following question: Do you want to be in a relationship where these elements are not present? I feel sure that you do not.
Stop and think
The next time you find yourself caught up in an attraction to another person, stop and think about what I am sharing with you. Enjoy the experience but keep your pace and expectations in check with reality. Is this really headed toward love or has it passed the test of reality.
There are too many single adults who are playing games with the feelings and hearts of others. It is a crime and I pray that God will reveal them to others. In the meantime, there is another scripture that comes to mind. It is one of instruction from Christ to us in Matthew 10:16:
‘Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.’
I am praying for you as you interact with each other. May God’s Spirit give you wisdom in your interactions and protect you from the games of others.