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Love is.........

What does love require of me?

They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything.

Bill Keane.

This is a good quote. However, sometimes it’s nice to let people know that you love them by other means. For example; telling them, with grand gestures, or better yet, consider displaying your love through your own self-sacrifice.

We have recently celebrated the greatest festival of love, known to us in the western world as Valentine’s Day. Quite often we believe what we give and receive on this day is the greatest expression of our love for one another, but does it really encapsulate all that love is?

In 2014 we Brits spent an astonishing £600 million on this one day. Men were the big spenders with an average spend of £35 while the ladies came in with a paltry £20 gift….

14% of people believe chocolates are the thing to get, while 21% go for flowers.

But, what is it women really want for valentines? A romantic dinner? A serenade?

No! 27% polled want a holiday as their gift, a further 17% want a car and a spa comes in third place, with jewellery as fourth. Incredible!

Love has always been a great topic in literature and film; From Romeo and Juliet, to twilight, Casablanca, to Age of Adeline. We all have our favourites, but does film warp our view on love?

I used to have a warped view on love, as a young man growing up. I thought it was all about the feelings, until I had a shocking realisation after my best friend died in a tragic car accident. Only then, did I discover what real love actually was and it was not romantic in any way. This led me on somewhat of a voyage of discovery and after meeting my future wife, and then Christ, did I finally have a broad understanding of what love truly is. So surprise, surprise! Love was always this way. It was just hidden in plain sight.

C.S Lewis actually wrote a whole book on the subject of love and broke our single English word ‘Love’, into four much more specific Greek words. These Greek words are not all found in the bible but there are stories that clearly speak to each of these words.

Eros - Based on the glands. "I love you because I am attracted to you." Samson and Delilah

Storge - based on genetic ties. "I love you because we are kin to each other" Mary and Martha and Lazarus

Philia - based on emotions. "I really like you, I love you because I enjoy being with you." David and Jonathan

Agape - based on a decision, an act of the will. "I love you", not "I love you if....", not "I love you because....", just simply "I love you". Jesus and humanity

Each of these words aptly describes love in its entirety. I believe that if we were to summarise how we can best demonstrate love to one another. It would be through the question;

(One I have borrowed from the great preacher Andy Stanley)

What does love require of me?

Another way to see this question practically is to ask yourself the question;

What would I like someone to do for me today?

Luke 6:31 (ESV)

31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

The answer although profoundly simple is quite disturbingly difficult to do. The answer is to do that thing for someone else. Whether it is a foot massage, to buy someone a coffee or smile at and encourage another human being. The list is endless and is comprised of the cheapest of gifts, to the most elaborate of schemes.

Everything on the list will come at some price.

Romans 5:8 (ESV)

8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God paid the highest price to show us how much He loved us, what price are you willing to pay to show how much you love others above yourself?

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